Ex-Narcotics Officers Acquitted of Federal Corruption Charges Win Jobs Back

Six Philadelphia police officers who were acquitted of numerous federal corruption charges by a jury earlier this year have reportedly won their jobs back.

Narcotics officers Thomas Liciardello, Michael Spicer, John Speiser, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts and Linwood Norman were first fired from the police department and arrested last summer, and faced a weeks-long federal trial before a jury found them not guilty on all charges in May. Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald told the Philadelphia Inquirer the officers will receive $90,000 in back pay and get their original badges back.

McDonald told the newspaper that the officers, who had been assigned to the Narcotics Field Unit, will not be returned to posts in that unit, but will work mostly in districts. It was unclear exactly when the veteran policemen would be back on the job.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, at the time of the officers' arrests, called the case of alleged corruption "one of the worst cases" he'd ever heard of and vowed to have their badges destroyed. The officers were accused of threatening, beating and stealing from drug suspects over a several-year span. Liciardello, who was accused of being the ringleader of the rogue squad, spent nearly a year in federal lockup before the acquittal.

The six were arrested after a fellow former narcotics officer, Jeffrey Walker, was caught by federal agents stealing money from a drug house and agreed to cooperate in the federal investigation into the squad and testify against the officers. Walker pleaded guilty in his own corruption case and is serving a federal sentence.

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