Three Philadelphia police officers were arrested Thursday on unrelated charges that included perjury, animal cruelty, and theft.
Officer Christopher Hulmes, a 19-year member of the force, was charged with lying under oath and on paperwork about a 2010 drug arrest. Officer Roderick Walton, a 23-year member, was accused of leaving a dog with a broken leg to languish in a basement for a week. Officer Christopher Jackson, a nine-year member, was charged with confiscating a witness' cellphone and using it as his own.
Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey suspended Hulmes and Jackson for 30 days with the intent to dismiss. Walton resigned Wednesday night, characterizing his decision on his Twitter account as "retiring" after "23 years of service to the community."
Hulmes, a former narcotics officer, has been under scrutiny in the alleged perjury for some time. Philadelphia City Paper reported that in 2011, he admitted lying in a drug case against defendant Arthur Rowland. A year later, a judge in the trial called him a liar, and then threw out evidence seized in the case.
In August 2014, while on desk duty amid an Internal Affairs investigation, Hulmes again told a judge that he had given false testimony in Rowland's trial, to protect a confidential informant. That judge allowed his testimony to stand.
First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann said City Paper's reporting on Hulmes had alerted higher-ups in his office to the case.
"It wasn't brought to the attention of everyone it should have been brought to in the office" in 2011 and 2012, he said. McCann would not say who was aware of Hulmes' alleged perjury, or why it was not widely known in the office before 2014.
"It's not a good moment for us at all," he said. "It's far below what our expectations are, in terms of how to handle these types of situations and this type of evidence. This is something we should have acted on three years ago, without a doubt."
Brian McMonagle, Hulmes' lawyer, said his client had "made misrepresentations in an effort to protect a human being's life."
"His decision to do that was a decision that cost him his career. This has been a situation where Chris had the best interests of another person's life in mind, and I just think it would be horrible for him to pay a heavy price, since that was his motive."
McCann said there are legal provisions to protect confidential witnesses - for example, prosecutors can ask judges to seal documents that would reveal an informant's identity, or even drop a case.
"Even if his motives were good, that's just contrary to the law, and it can't stand," he said.
Walton was arrested in a 2014 incident in which the SPCA received an anonymous tip about an abused dog at his home, authorities said. At the house, a Humane Society officer found a mastiff in a "damp and moldy back basement room," dirty and suffering from a broken leg, the District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Walton told the officer the dog, named Bear, had been "like that for a week," the statement said, and that he had not taken the dog to a vet because he was too busy. Bear was eventually euthanized because he was in severe pain.
Walton did not return a call for comment.
Authorities said Jackson drove a witness in a homicide case to Police Headquarters in 2013 and confiscated the man's cellphone. After the man was interviewed, Jackson did not return the Samsung Galaxy S to him - and, about two weeks later, took the phone to a mobile store, and switched it to his account and phone number.
Efforts to reach him Thursday night were unsuccessful.