POLICE Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that he has ordered Internal Affairs to reopen the 18 complaints civilians filed against disgraced narcotics cop Jeffrey Walker during his 24-year career.
Walker, 44, was caught after allegedly stealing $15,000 from a Philadelphia Housing Authority-owned rowhouse in Kingsessing Tuesday in an FBI sting. Ramsey suspended him from the force with the intent to dismiss.
The Daily News found that none of the previous Internal Affairs complaints, which accused Walker of misdeeds ranging from physical assaults to theft, was ever sustained.
"I told Internal Affairs to reopen all those cases to see whether or not there's anything the feds or the District Attorney's Office could use for additional charges," Ramsey said. "[Walker] says this is the only time he's been involved in something like this, but I find that impossible to believe."
Defense lawyer Bradley Bridge said hundreds of cases handled by the Defender Association of Philadelphia could be affected by Walker's arrest. He said he plans to file petitions to reopen them.
Walker also was named in at least eight federal lawsuits - some of which the city settled for tens of thousands of dollars - accusing him and other narcotics cops of behaving worse than the criminals they locked up.
"I was scared of them dudes, because I see those dudes every day and I knew those dudes were dirty," said Andre Blaylock, 36, of West Philly, who was arrested twice by Walker.
The first arrest happened in October 2003. On their affidavit of probable cause, the officers named Blaylock's brother, Dana, as a dealer they'd seen selling drugs. But when Walker and his cohorts arrived to arrest him, Dana Blaylock wasn't there.
So they arrested Andre Blaylock instead, swapping his name with his brother's on the affidavit.
The charges against Blaylock were dismissed - after he spent 16 months behind bars.
He later won a $45,000 settlement from the city in a federal suit that accused Walker and other cops of beating him, his cousin and another man, and planting drugs to support his arrest. Blaylock said the officers also stole money from his family's home.
In March 2012, Walker spotted Blaylock smoking marijuana on his front porch and charged him with five drug offenses.
Blaylock claimed yesterday that police took $500 from his house at that time, but reported that they only seized $100. Police reported that they found other narcotics in Blaylock's home. He insists that he had no drugs, other than the joint he was smoking.
Still, Blaylock accepted prosecutors' offer of probation rather than fight the arrest, because with two prior drug convictions, he worried a third would land him behind bars for years.
"I have a son and I didn't want to take the risk of going to jail again," said Blaylock, a married father of a 4-year-old.
Blaylock heard of Walker's arrest while he worked Wednesday in his uncle's restaurant in Logan. "I was just laughing," he said. "That's what he gets."
Brian Randall, 40, said he and his uncle, Arnold Randall, spent six months behind bars after the two were arrested on bogus drug charges by Walker and other cops on June 11, 2003.
Walker and the other narcotics officers had served a handful of warrants that day that were aimed at Randall's younger cousins - Melvin, Raymond and Alphonso Randall - whom the cops had observed allegedly enaging in narcotics activity.
Brian Randall said he had dropped off a bag of fruit to his grandmother at her West Philly home when he found the cops outside, locking up his cousins.
Randall said he identified himself to the officers, and then all hell broke loose.
" said, 'He's a Randall, he has something to do with this,' " Randall said. "They took a bag of marijuana from someone else and put it on me. They locked up my uncle Arnold, and even put my grandmother in handcuffs, and she was in her 70s."
Charges against Randall and his uncle were dismissed. Randall said his uncle won an $8,000 settlement from the city over the incident. Randall also sued, but did not receive any money.
A year after his encounter with Walker, Randall moved to Maryland, where he works at a Red Lobster.
"I didn't want to keep worrying about running into him and getting arrested for something I didn't do," Randall said.
Ramsey said police officials got word several months ago that Walker was "ripping off drug dealers." He was allowed to stay in the Narcotics Field Unit-South while investigators set the sting operation in motion.
Walker's arrest, coupled with a litany of allegations made in recent years against other narcotics officers, reinforced Ramsey's desire to have cops rotate out of narcotics units every five years - a move he's barred from making due to labor rules.
"There are some steps that can be taken that I believe would make it more difficult for someone who engages in that kind of activity to go undetected," he said.
John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said the idea is a nonstarter.
"They ask for this in every contract and it's pushed aside," he said. "I don't buy the argument that because of what one idiot did, you have to rotate everyone."
- Staff writer Barbara Laker contributed to this report.