Former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams maintained a confidential list of officers with a history of lying, racial bias, or brutality. It included the officer who arrested the rapper Meek Mill on gun and drug charges.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office secretly compiled a list of police officers with a history of lying, racial bias, or brutality, in a move to block them from testifying in court, Philly.com reports. The confidential list of about two dozen was assembled by prosecutors on a Police Misconduct Review Committee of former District Attorney Seth Williams. It was supposed to attack the problem of police “testilying” — falsifying evidence, framing suspects, and lying about it in court. The list included Reginald Graham, who in 2007 arrested the rapper Meek Mill, whose jailing for violating probation on those gun and drug charges has stirred debate about the fairness of the criminal-justice system.
The list was intended as a guide to determine when a potentially tainted officer’s testimony should be used. Prosecutors were instructed to get top-level permission before calling such an officer. Prosecutors did not want to release the list out of concern for the officers’ privacy and the impact it might have on past convictions involving the officers. Appellate lawyers for Mill were never told of the list or that Graham was on it. The existence of the list was kept from attorneys for hundreds of defendants arrested by the officers identified as tainted. District Attorney Larry Krasner confirmed the existence of the list to the Inquirer and Daily News. The district attorney said he would have a plan for addressing problem officers and their testimony in three months. The existence of the list could have significant implications for defendants, prosecutors and taxpayers. After federal prosecutors and the FBI alleged that Philadelphia narcotics officers had been framing suspects and stealing money and drugs, the District Attorney dropped 800 cases and freed scores of convicted defendants. The city has paid at least $2 million to settle civil suits.