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Six More Indicted in Police Corruption Case

February 23, 1985

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Six current and former Philadelphia police officers have been indicted on charges they accepted some $40,000 in bribes, the latest men netted in a 31/2 -year federal investigation into police corruption.

The probe, which Justice Department officials say is continuing, has already resulted in convictions or guilty pleas by 20 former officers.

Named in three indictments returned by a federal grand jury that finished its work Friday were Lt. John Nicklous, 31, and patrolman Richard Herron, 40, both still on the force, and former officers John Steele, 57; Frederick Daw, 50; Joseph Gioffre, 42; and William Deabler, 52.

U.S. Attorney Edward S.G. Dennis Jr. said that between January 1975 and December 1983, the six extorted approximately $40,000 from poker machine vendors, pimps and owners of taprooms, private clubs - including some gay bars - and massage parlors to overlook illegal activities.

″They used their positions as police officers to extort money and property to not enforce the law,″ Dennis said in announcing the indictments at a news conference.

The property, he said, was free liquor.

The discharge of the current grand jury - a new one is now looking into additional corruption charges against an unknown number of other policemen - ends a contempt sentence being served by former Inspector John DeBenedetto, who was sentenced to 12 years on corruption charges.

DeBenedetto refused to cooperate with the FBI by testifying about illegal activities of other policemen and was jailed for contempt.

Dennis said DeBenedetto would immediately start serving his sentence on the corruption charges.

The investigation of the 7,200-member force in the nation’s fifth largest city began nearly four years ago and has uncovered payoffs totaling more than $500,000 to officers promising to protect prostitution, gambling or illegal liquor sales, Dennis said.

Of the 22 officers who have faced trial so far, two were acquitted.

The investigation has reached the upper level of the department, with the former No. 2 officer on the force - former Deputy Commissioner James Martin - serving an 18-year prison sentence for participating in a conspiracy involving more than a dozen men and netting more than $350,000.

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