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Stories of shakedowns, brutality, kidnapping, and theft have dogged a group of the city's Narcotics Field Unit officers for nearly a decade. But despite multiple investigations, cases against them never stuck.Federal prosecutors set out to change that Wednesday, laying out a sprawling racketeering case against six of the unit's former members. The charges paint them as rogue cops running roughshod over the rights of their targets, confident that few would believe anyone who dared complain.As the years went on, the 26-count indictment suggests, Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser became only more brazen.Between February 2006 and November 2012, it states, they stole more than $500,000 in cash, drugs, and personal property - all while using extreme force, and falsifying police reports to downplay their takes.More coverageTimeline: What Charges Say About Six Narcotics OfficersRamsey renews call to rotate copsWho are the six narcs arrested?Targets who resisted, prosecutors say, were dangled over balconies, threatened with the seizure of their homes, held in dank hotel rooms for days, or beaten as the officers kept score on who could inflict the most debilitating injuries.Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey described the allegations as "one of the worst cases of corruption I have ever heard.""Words just don't describe the degree to which their acts have brought discredit," he said. He blamed the city's contract with its officers for his inability to transfer the six officers years earlier, despite suspicions that emerged as early as 2005.Their arrests, during predawn raids Wednesday, threaten to throw dozens of their past cases into doubt and reopen a pipeline of civil rights lawsuits from suspects they arrested that has already cost the city at least $777,000.
Their arrests, during predawn raids Wednesday, threaten to throw dozens of their past cases into doubt and reopen a pipeline of civil rights lawsuits from suspects they arrested that has already cost the city at least $777,000.
If only their main concern was innocent people sentenced to prison rather than the 'cost' in dollars...