A man and two Philadelphia women filed suit Thursday against four Philadelphia Police officers recently removed from an elite drug unit, accusing the officers of arresting them on bogus charges after raiding the wrong apartment. The federal civil rights suit is the first filed against the officers since Dec. 3, when the District Attorney’s Office informed the police that it would no longer prosecute drug cases handled by the four members of the Narcotics Field Unit South and two of their colleagues.
All charges against the plaintiffs were dismissed in December, four days after the six officers were transferred from the unit. The officers named as defendants in the suit are Michael Spicer, Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, and John Speiser, as well as several additional officers.
Since Dec. 3, prosecutors have withdrawn at least 260 criminal cases involving the six transferred officers. That is more dismissals than in any of the city’s police scandals in at least four decades.
The lawsuit states that the narcotics agents raided the Bustleton Avenue apartment of Angel English, using a that warrant wrongly stating that it was the home of a woman who didn’t live there.
After finding no drugs, the suit said, one officer “planted a bag of narcotics in the apartment and claimed to have found it there.” It did not identify the officer supposedly involved in planting drugs. Reynolds is listed as the arresting officer in Barksdale’s court record.
The complaint charges that the police department and the District Attorney’s office knew for years that some of the officers were involved in “integrity, corruption and civil rights violation issues.”