Sparks flew in federal court Tuesday when a Philadelphia police officer testified in defense of six former colleagues accused of robbing drug dealers.
Officer Sean O’Malley was one of three members of the Narcotics Field Unit - South who were not charged last year in a scathing indictment that alleged, among other things, that officers held a drug suspect over a high rise balcony to get him to divulge the password to his personal organizer.
O’Malley testified that those allegations were false.
“Did not happen,” O’Malley said.
He called former Officer Thomas Liciardello, who prosecutors say was the de facto ring leader of the thefts, “one of the best narcotics officers I’ve ever worked with.”
His opinion of former officer Jeffrey Walker, the government’s star witness who was caught in an FBI sting robbing a drug dealer, was the opposite.
“He was lazy,” O’Malley said. “He couldn’t do a job from beginning to end on his own.”
On cross examination
O’Malley acknowledged that he had maligned the government’s case on Facebook, calling it a “kangaroo court.”
Tuesday marked the second day of testimony the defense’s case. Lawyers for the accused cops, are pursuing a line of questioning that implies the federal government did a sloppy job investigating the case.
But they also plan to call numerous police officers to contradict the testimony of the drug defendants -- more than a dozen -- who say the police stole cash and in some cases drugs.
The unit’s supervisor also took the stand Tuesday. His testimony will continue Wednesday morning.