88 drug convictions thrown out after allegations of corruption

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A Philadelphia judge has thrown out another 88 drug convictions tainted by allegations of police corruption. (WPVI)

Common Pleas Court President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper tossed out another 88 drug convictions tainted by allegations of police corruption on Friday.

For one woman and her mom, who were caught up in the tainted cases, the decision brought tears of joy.

"My mom always says that I'm not emotional, but I cried, I cried cause it was a day that I did not think was gonna happen," said Neiya Rawlerson.

Rawlerson, 24, and her mom's nightmare began on the night of Feb. 12, 2010. Neither one of them had prior criminal records, but the seven officers in question had accused them of numerous drug trafficking charges.

Additionally, she said they were charged with trafficking children. They were convicted on the officers' testimony and sent to prison. They even lost their home to drug forfeiture laws.

"Our whole life, just literally took everything, everything," said Rawlerson. "Our good name, our house, money, everything just taken away, our freedom."

Rawlerson said she was not even able to Google her own name because of all the bad things being said about her.

"Sometimes I changed my name so people, you know, won't be able to Google me or anything, but now I won't have to do that anymore, and I'll be able to live with my name and be proud of my name," said Rawlerson.

Public defender Bradley Bridge said so far 648 cases the officers handled have been thrown out, tainted by allegations of corruption.

"That's a real travesty, and I assume the commissioner coming in will similarly follow the lead set by Commissioner Ramsey, and that is there should be no tolerance for police corruption," said Bradley.

For her part, Rawlerson has started her own cell phone accessory website, http://caseluxe.be/site/, where she sells cases for iPhones.

As for the officers who did this to her and her mother, she tells Action News, "I pray for them, you know, I don't hate them. I don't like them, but I pray for them, you know, hopefully everything comes around, and clearly it has."

Only one of the seven officers, Jeffrey Walker, admitted his guilt. He's now serving three-and-a-half years in prison.

The other six were acquitted following a contentious trial, back in May.

Bridge said there are 500 more cases that have yet to be reviewed.

For its part, the district attorney's office said it will continue to review each case, one at a time, and make the decision about how it will proceed.
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philadelphia newscorruptionillegal drugsCenter City Philadelphia
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