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Philly paying millions to resolve allegations of police misconduct

by , & - Staff Writers/PHILLY.COM

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Gloucester City News blog files


Marcia Hintz was working a full-time job caring for mentally challenged adults, raising a grandchild, and providing medical assistance to her longtime companion when members of a Philadelphia police narcotics squad busted into her Mayfair home in 2006 and arrested her for selling drugs.

 Roger High, on the other hand, already had a lengthy criminal record and was out on bail awaiting trial on drug charges when that same narcotics squad picked him up that year on a new case.

Hintz and High would seem to have little in common, but their stories intersected three years ago when the courts began overturning convictions built by the squad amid accusations of fabricated evidence, illegal searches, and other misconduct.

And they converged again in recent months, when each received payouts from the City of Philadelphia.

Their checks — High for $15,000, Hintz for 40 times as much — come as the city has quietly begun settling the more than 300 lawsuits against onetime members of that infamous narcotics squad. And they are just a part of what could be an onslaught of payments by the city to resolve police misconduct lawsuits, according to interviews and an Inquirer and Daily News review of court records and financial documents.

The price tag for just three high-profile examples could approach $24 million, according to a city bond document — up to $8 million for the narcotics squad cases, and a combined $16 million for two unrelated claims of wrongful murder convictions. The murder case lawsuits may take months or years to resolve, but the city has already paid more than $2 million to settle 75 cases against the narcotics officers.