Two more Philly officers arrested amid reforms

Pictured are Philadelphia Police Officers Christopher Luciano and Sean Alivera.
October 5, 2010 3:42:41 PM PDT
Officials in Philadelphia say they've arrested two city officers overnight, the latest in a string of embarrassing in-house arrests.

31-year-old Sean Alivera and 23-year-old Christopher Luciano were arrested shortly after 7:00 p.m. on Monday and charged with Criminal Conspiracy, Robbery, Theft by Deception and other related offenses.

The arrests were the result of a joint investigation by the District Attorney's Office, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigations.

According to police, the two officers attempted to rob a man they thought was a drug dealer. The victim was, in fact, an undercover police officer.

Alivera and Luciano allegedly took 20 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $24,000 along with $3,000 in cash from the undercover officer. The cash was found in their possession when they were later arrested, investigators said.

Investigators say they believe that Alivera and Luciano then planned to hand the drugs over to another drug dealer for redistribution.

Police would not say if they used their service weapons in the alleged heist, as some colleagues have allegedly done this year. But they were not charged with any gun offenses.

Both officers have been suspended for 30 days with the intent to dismiss.

Alivera is a 10-year veteran of the force and Luciano has been with the department for 3 years.

"This effort to root out corruption may get worse before it gets better," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Tuesday. "(But) you wouldn't have to clean the house if the house wasn't dirty."

With the recent arrests, at least seven Philadelphia officers have been accused or convicted in the past year of trying to rob drug dealers, sometimes in violent, premeditated home invasions.

An eighth is charged with stealing $825 from a tavern where a colleague was slain on duty four years ago.

Ramsey wants to raise eligibility requirements for the 6,600-member force, to require that applicants be at least 21 and have two years of college credit and driving experience. He also plans to move more officers to Internal Affairs.

The police union supports his plan.

In July, former city officer Alhinde Weems, 34, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for scheming to use his badge to enter a home and rob an undercover agent. He told a judge he had been depressed since suffering a head injury in an on-the-job bike accident; friends said he was supporting a wife, five children and other relatives.

And, in November, former officer Malik Snell, 37, was sent to prison for 30 years for robbing a drug dealer during a traffic stop and taking part in a violent home invasion that led to a high-speed crash that left a nurse with permanent injuries. His father blamed a gambling problem for the crime spree, which a judge called "incomprehensible."

The department has about 6,600 officers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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