Black Philly narcotics cops slam white supervisors

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Attorney Brian R. Mildenberg and Rochelle Bilal, president of the Guardian Civic League.

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Rochelle Bilal, president of the Guardian Civic League, speaks at a news conference. At left is Minister Rodney Muhammad, head of the Philadelphia NAACP.

Six black Philadelphia Police Department narcotics officers say their two white supervisors are racist and corrupt, according to two black civic leaders and an attorney for the officers.

Rochelle Bilal, Guardian Civic League president, said at a news conference at the organization’s Girard Avenue headquarters that the two narcotics supervisors — Chief Inspector Anthony Boyle and Inspector Raymond Evers — should be removed from their posts.

Two of the black officers filed complaints about Boyle and Evers with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in late August, according to Center City attorney Brian R. Mildenberg. One of the complaining officers is Staff Inspector Debra Frazier, the unit’s highest-ranking black official and its integrity officer, and the five others are remaining anonymous because they are afraid of retaliation, Mildenberg said. A civil lawsuit is being explored, he said.

Complaints against Boyle and Evers include: allowing a white corporal to park his Confederate-flag-decorated car on city property; encouraging officers to falsify documents and evidence related to arrests; and denying black officers equal opportunities for overtime and work assignments. Boyle allegedly referred to black civilians as “scum” and to black civilian slayings as “thinning the herd,” Bilal and Mildenberg said.

No evidence was offered at the news conference to support the allegations.

Police Department spokesman Troy Brown declined to comment on the allegations, citing the possible litigation. Evers did not return a phone message seeking comment. Attempts to reach Boyle were unsuccessful.

On July 30, an anonymous letter was sent to Police Commissioner Richard Ross from “Stressed Black Personnel of the Narcotics Bureau” alleging that their two white supervisors routinely encouraged officers to violate department policy, spoke contemptuously of African American citizens, and created a “racially hostile work environment” for black officers.

On Wednesday, the allegations in the letter were aired publicly by leaders of the Philadelphia Guardian Civic League, which represents black officers, and the Philadelphia NAACP.

Boyle and Evers, a former department spokesman, were transferred to run the narcotics unit earlier this year, said Mildenberg. “The officers are coming forward now to bring it to light and to let the public know that there is an issue,” he said. “And I might say that those officers are very brave for doing that.”

“Commanding officers have harassed and encouraged harassment and disrespect of African American police officers to the point where we believe that a crisis of racial discrimination exists at Narcotics,” Bilal said.

“The crisis of discrimination is shown by the fact that a police corporal felt comfortable under the current commanding officers in parking his vehicle with a Confederate flag on it at the workplace,” said Bilal, a retired officer.

Minister Rodney Muhammad, head of the local NAACP branch, said his organization “is committed to strong and good community policing. But we are also committed to” ridding the Police Department of a “rogue element.”

Mildenberg, Bilal, and Muhammad said Boyle and Evers encouraged officers to falsify documents and evidence related to drug arrests for suspects who agree to provide information, sidestepping department directives on confidential informants.

“They have instructed officers to offer to make the drugs go away,” said Bilal, who added that officers have been retaliated against for refusing to violate department policy. “This practice is called flipping the arrestee. Although flipping sources is a common law enforcement technique, Philadelphia police directives require certain documentation, procedures, and protections when engaging in work that turns a suspect or arrestee into a confidential informant.”

Mildenberg said the black narcotics officers were seeking “a full investigation of these allegations.”