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More Drug Convictions Tossed Amid Ongoing Questions About Phila. Narcotics Squad

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Philadelphia judge has reversed dozens of additional drug convictions tied to a onetime elite squad of police narcotics officers whose members were recently acquitted of federal corruption charges.

Although a federal court jury cleared them of wrongdoing, Bradley Bridge, of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, says, "The evidence raises doubts about the legitimacy of the convictions."

"The prosecutor's office and I have concluded that it is not helpful to distinguish which of these particular police officers were involved," Bridge told KYW Newsradio today.  "They all had substantial questions that arose about their truthfulness and honesty,"

The latest batch of convictions of drug dealers and users reversed en masse included 58 cases reopened and the cases dismissed. That brings to about 235 the number of reversed drug convictions tied to the six former narcotics officers, some of whom want their old jobs back.

To date, the bulk of the overturned convictions, 167, were connected to Jeffrey Walker, the former squad member who pleaded guilty and testified against the other six.

Bridge says there's still a way to go.

"We've filed about 1,700 petitions in light of the federal indictment involving these six police officers from the narcotics squad," he said today.

So far, they've disposed of about 25 percent of the cases and many more are expected to be tossed out.



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