Philly police officer allegedly offered to help acquit man for bribe

Jonathan Lazarde
Officer Jonathan Lazarde allegedly offered to ensure acquittal in exchange for a bribe. Credit: Philadelphia Police Department

Philadelphia police Officer Jonathan Lazarde, 27, was arrested Thursday for allegedly offering to ensure acquittal for a man he arrested in exchange for a bribe, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The arrest came just over a year after Lazarde received a merit commendation for excellent policework.

Investigators said Lazarde offered to ensure that a man he arrested for firearms violations would be acquitted of the charges in exchange for $3,000.

Officials with the Internal Affairs Division received information about the alleged scheme last month and launched an eight-week investigation into Lazarde’s conduct.

They were able to confirm conversations between Lazarde and the defendant through phone and text message records, according to prosecutors.

The defendant then agreed to cooperate with police and continued to communicate with Lazarde regarding the alleged extortion attempt.

Police said the man arranged a meeting and paid Lazarde a bribe of $5,000 in cash, which police had chemically treated with an ultraviolet marker.

In exchange, Lazarde allegedly agreed to not show up in court to testify in the man’s case.

Investigators said Internal Affairs Division officers stopped Lazarde as he left the meeting and found him to be in possession of the marked money. Lazarde’s hands and pants pocket were also allegedly stained with ultraviolet dye.

Lazarde was three years ago sued in federal court for allegedly punching a woman in the face while arresting her son. A  judge this March partially dismissed the suit, which also named several other officers, but upheld the claims against Lazarde.

Two Philadelphia police officers stated during their depositions that Lazarde had a reputation for using excessive force during arrests, according to court documents.

Lazarde in May 2012 received a merit commendation from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Philadelphia Police Department for “highly intelligent and valuable acts of police service,” according to a release from the department.

Police said Lazarde, a five-year veteran assigned to the 35th District, resigned from the department on April 21 and turned himself in to the Internal Affairs Division on Thursday morning.

He is charged with bribery, theft by extortion and criminal use of a communication facility.

Prosecutors on Thursday said Lazarde was still being processed by police.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…