More Misconduct Allegations Against Philadelphia's Narcotics Cops

The investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Field Unit began with allegations that Narcotics Officer Jeffrey Cujdik repeatedly fabricated evidence to support his sworn applications for search warrants.

The scandal expanded in March after the Daily News reported that Cujdik, [Thomas] Tolstoy and other officers disabled surveillance cameras during raids of mom-and-pop stores that sold tiny ziplock bags, which police consider drug paraphernalia. After the officers cut or yanked the wires, thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise went missing, the merchants said.

A third layer of scandal is unfolding as Internal Affairs and the FBI investigate at least three independent complaints that Officer Tolstoy fondled and groped women during drug raids while commenting upon (and asking to see) their breasts. Tolstoy has been placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

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    And, then, (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:42:22 PM EST
    these cops (and their political masters) sit there and scratch their heads wondering why it is that Philadelphia cops have to dodge occasional sniper fire.  And the answer they come up with is that the people the cops are oppressing, should give in and let the cops do more, and worse to them.

    I do not advocate for violence - I advocate against it.  But, like someone once said:  "I can understand why people rob banks.  I don't approve of it, but I can understand it."

    Remember the Mexican Zetas? (none / 0) (#2)
    by mcl on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 10:58:42 PM EST
    They're now the Mexican drug cartel's most feared assassins...but they started as Mexico's elite anti-drug police.

    The problem is that when you abolish the law and let elite police units and government units bend and twist probable cause and reasonable suspicion in their single-minded pursuit of convicting drug criminals, the police eventually come to think of themselves as existing above the law.

    From there it's a short distance to crossing over entirely to the dark side and stealing cash from drug dealers, dealing drugs themselves, murdering rival cartel members, and so on.

    This has happened time and time again in countries around the world. Every time an elite unit gets placed above the law and given special powers to deal with drugs or terrorism or violent crimes with "special circumstances," every single time, the police wind up being corrupted by those special powers and becoming criminals themselves.

    The rule of law exists not merely to punish criminals, but to keep the rest of us honest. Once one group is given carte blanche to act with special powers outside the normal rules of law (like "no known" warrants, unnamed confidential informants, warrantless wiretapping, the RICO act, asset forfeiture, and other unconstitutional extrajudicial abuses) they wind up succumbing to the temptation to act completely outside the law. We refer to people who behave in such a manner as "terrorists" and "organized crime."