A federal jury stunned Philadelphia yesterday and acquitted six city narcotics officers accused of violently robbing suspected drug dealers of hundreds of thousands of dollars, City Lab reports. Victims were allegedly brutally assaulted and even hung over balconies. Throughout the trial, lead defense lawyer Jack McMahon attacked the alleged victims’ credibility (calling them “bags of trash” and “despicable liars”) and that of former officer Jeffrey Walker, a narcotics cop arrested separately who pleaded guilty and testified against his former colleagues.
McMahon apparently did a good job convincing the jury that these alleged drug dealers were all liars despite the fact that they and Walker independently told the same chilling stories. This is exactly why corrupt police target criminals: who's going to believe them? Today’s verdict sends a message to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams: the question of whether rogue police are held accountable lies in his office’s hands. “There is no question that the federal jury pool in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is overwhelmingly white, suburban and rural, conservative and pro-law enforcement,” says Larry Krasner, a prominent civil rights lawyer and longtime critic of narcotics officer corruption.