Two men accused of drug dealing in Philadelphia had charges against them dropped yesterday after their attorney told a judge that five Philadelphia antinarcotics officers involved in their case had "partnered with drug dealers" in crime, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The action came two days after Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey transferred the five officers and a lieutenant from the aggressive Narcotics Field Unit.
District Attorney Seth Williams informed Ramsey that his office would no longer use the officers as witnesses, accept charges, or approve search warrants in narcotics cases in which they were involved. In what could become a familiar scene in cases involving the officers, the two defendants, whose bail was set at $1.5 million at their arrest in January, walked out of the courtroom smiling. Bradley Bridge, a veteran lawyer in the Philadelphia Public Defender's Office, said the affected cases could be in the hundreds. Defense lawyer Lawrence Krasner said the five officers involved in the arrest had been involved in criminal activity. "There was a group of police officers who essentially partnered with certain drug dealers, and they partnered with those drug dealers to do things that were both illegal and outright crimes," Krasner said.