What Law Enforcement Calls Justice

Seal of the Philadelphia Police Department.

This is what it gets us:

Currently, the Defender Association of Philadelphia is seeking to have more than 500 convictions involving Officer Christopher Hulmes reopened and tossed out. In 2011, Hulmes admitted to lying in open court in a drug-and-gun case against two black men who claim they were framed. He did so in front of a judge and prosecutor. But he was not charged with perjury until this April ....

Reporter Daniel Denvir brings to Salon reporting he has been working on all year, including an April article for the Philadelphia City Paper explaining:

Last Thursday, District At­torney Seth Williams an­nounced that Phil­adel­phia Police Officer Christopher Hulmes, a narcotics cop who admitted in open court to lying under oath, had been charged with perjury and other offenses.

It only took more than three years.

During that lapse, Hulmes continued to patrol the city’s bustling drug markets and to testify in criminal trials that likely sent many defendants to prison. Some of those convictions could end up being overturned and costing the city in civil settlements.

That Hulmes admitted in 2011 to lying multiple times in a drug-and-gun case is without question. But precisely what he intended to cover up, and why it took an August 2014 City Paper investigation to prompt prosecutors to file charges, is much more complicated.

It always is.

More complicated, that is.

Still, though, there is this: As long as law enforcement decides it is okay for law enforcement to break the law, we cannot trust law enforcement.

See how that goes? In Philadelphia, prosecutors are only coming after a police officer known as a perjurer because they have essentially run out of room to maneuver, or excuses to make. Until then, law enforcement saw no reason to prosecute law enforcement, and that makes perfect sense, apparently, if one is part of law enforcement.

And that is why they get away with it. Because whether it’s Philadelphia, Cleveland, Ferguson, New York, Seattle, Chicago, or anywhere else, law enforcement sees no reason to prosecute law enforcement.

And you, too, can enjoy your equally protected right to prosecutorial cover for your crimes once you hurry up and join your local police department.


Denvir, Daniel. “How Philadelphia prosecutors protect police misconduct: Cops get caught lying — and then get off the hook”. Salon. 28 December 2015.

—————. “The Price of Perjury: The story of one lying cop in Philly’s Wild West drug war”. City Paper. 30 April 2015.

—————. “Why does DA keep calling lying cop to testify?” City Paper. 7 August 2014.

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