Police Assault Whistle-Blowers in Their Ranks
Two police lieutenants face a similar criminal charge but one gets a slap on the wrist while the other is fired.
One of these two police supervisors is an officer with a distinguished record of exposing corruption and misconduct.
Guess which of those two veteran police officers received the harsher punishment?
Upon firing Lt. Aisha Perry weeks ago, Police Department officials subjected her to the humiliation of a public arrest, complete with ‘perk walk’ before television news cameras. But they kept a lid on a secret that casts suspicion on the real reason behind Perry’s termination: While publicly firing Perry for theft of utility services, PPD brass were at the same time quietly disciplining seven other Department employees behind the scenes for similar theft of utility service offenses.
But Philadelphia police officials refused to discharge anyone of those thieves who, when confronted by police investigators, admitted their crimes.
Yet, whistle-blower Perry – a 31-year PPD veteran who vigorously denies the utility theft accusation – received both the punishment of termination and that humiliating public arrest.
Those seven PPD employees, including a staff member of a Deputy Police Commissioner, admitted fraudulently obtaining cash grants established to assist low-income residents to pay their utility bills.
One of those seven PPD employees receiving internal PPD discipline -- suspensions ranging from three to fifteen days -- was a detective lieutenant who earned $94,000 last year, according to city records.
Ironically, after that detective lieutenant completes his fifteen day suspension he will return to duty arresting criminals, despite the fact that he himself is now an admitted criminal.
Compounding the disparity in the severity of action taken against whistle-blower Perry, compared to the Gang of Seven, police sources said that over one hundred other PPD members have faced internal discipline for utility thefts without their cases being referred to prosecutors as were the misconduct claims against Perry.
Although the seeming travesty inherent in the arrest and firing of Lt. Aisha Perry occurred in Philadelphia, the mistreatment of whistle blowers within police departments is a nationwide problem that generally escapes public scrutiny.
In August, for example, a former policeman in a small town near Los Angeles and a former New Jersey State Trooper both won lawsuits filed after enduring retaliation for their whistle-blowing.
“Whistle-blowers are generally not supported by the administration of law enforcement agencies,” stated a disturbing study on the issue compiled for the International Association of Chiefs of Police a dozen years ago.