Six police officers were indicted today on charges of robbing and beating people on the streets of their precinct and hoarding money, guns and drugs from illegal searches of suspected drug houses.
The officers were charged with federal civil rights conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Three of the officers, Rodney Rice, 40, Irvin Lamont Upshaw, 41, and Larone Cook, 31, are also charged with taking bribes for protecting drug traffickers and possessing drugs and the equipment used to distribute them, such as scales for weighing.
Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The six worked in the 5th Precinct, a hotbed of police corruption in a police department rocked by scandal. The latest indictments are the result of a joint investigation by police and the FBI.
In May, a former officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to rob a numbers operator. Two other former officers at the precinct also were convicted in the case.
Ten former officers from a different precinct were indicted in 1997 on charges of conspiring to steal money, drugs and guns from drug dealers and others while on duty.
"We lose credibility as an organization," Police Chief Charles Wilson said. The public needs "to have full confidence that we are law-abiding as much as law-upholding."
Accused officer Mark Heath told television station WDIV that he is innocent.
"Thirteen years of hard work, it's all down the drain," he said.
The other officers charged are Antonio Carlisi, 26, and Christopher Cole, 37.