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
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.