A terrified police informant turned up in the city room of the Philadelphia Daily News, the city's screaming tabloid, with a story of working for a narcotics cop who sent him to set up acquaintances with drug buys -- and paid him with rental living quarters. Uh-oh ... the two women chased down this improbable tale, verifying its truth. They then started hearing that the same squad was raiding corner stores owned by immigrants, stealing merchandise, trashing their alarm systems, and dropping phony charges on the proprietors. Uh-oh ... so that's why the cops always had candy bars to pass out to street regulars from whom they wanted something. Once these stories hit the news, women began to tell them horror stories of being molested by a particular member of the narco squad who had a thing for baring and fondling the breasts of unfortunate females held in proximity to drug raids.
Unlike Balko, Ruderman and Laker make it abundantly clear that the reason these corrupt cops could get away with this behavior for years was that Philadelphia authorities neither believed nor cared about abuse of African Americans and other residents of color. The cops were white and they wouldn't have thought of trying this stuff in white communities. (The reporters were also white.)
Balko writes that J. Edgar Hoover always refused to commit his beloved F.B.I. to rooting out drug commerce.
It would be hard to imagine a more concrete, thorough indictment of how the "War on Drugs" makes police into yet another predatory gang running wild where they can than Ruderman and Laker offer here.