Phila. Drug Police Falsified Info, Hid It from DA: Report

Philadelphia Narcotics Bureau supervisors led a scheme to “flip” low level suspects and falsify paperwork about it, says an internal investigative report obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In May 2017, Philadelphia Narcotics Bureau supervisors Raymond Evers and Anthony Boyle called staff into a mandatory meeting. Evers called it a “pep talk” to “get better-quality investigations.” What he outlined, according to an internal affairs report obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer, was a scheme to flip low-level suspects into off-the-books confidential informants through a process that evolved into falsifying paperwork and hiding information from the District Attorney’s office. Some officers described the system as illegal and a violation of police directives, the report said. It sustained allegations Evers abused his authority, failed to supervise subordinates, and lied about it. Internal Affairs sustained charges against Boyle for failure to supervise. The Police Board of Inquiry has not held a hearing.  “I was shocked … These officers were provided improper instructions involving illegality,” narcotics Capt. Laverne Vann told investigators.

One officer said Evers “was encouraging the officers to obtain informants by flipping. Persons with a small amount of drugs, he said to put it on a property receipt and say you found it on the highway.” The internal investigation was launched in response to a letter “from stressed black personnel of the Narcotics Unit.” It echoes claims in a lawsuit filed by the Guardian Civic League, an organization representing black police officers, and three African-American narcotics officers who claimed they suffered retaliation for resisting. Boyle said followed “legitimate and long-standing law-enforcement procedures.” He called the allegations baseless, and said Evers acted properly. The rift could have far-reaching consequences, says Michael Mellon at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, who said hundreds of arrests made could be tainted. Mellon said, “This practice clearly violates the law, police protocol, and often the constitution.”