Former SCMPD Officers File RICO Suit

Read the entire complaint: 2015-10-01 SCMPD RICO Complaint

It reads like pulp fiction: a vast racketeering conspiracy of drug trafficking, dirty cops and government leaders who looked the other way.

But the sweeping civil suit filed in Chatham Superior Court Thursday by four former Savannah-Chatham Metro Police officers contains 73 pages of very real accusations.

The four highly-decorated former metro cops — Peter and Michael Delatorre, Robert von Loewenfeldt and Lawrence Harris — claim they left the department for lack of promotion and fear for their lives after they tried as Counter Narcotics Team investigators to look into the action of their fellow officers.

REACTION FROM SAVANNAH MAYOR EDNA JACKSON:

Among them: Maalik Khaalis, who is now facing trial for tipping off drug dealers and violating his oath, and a host of other former officers who are accused in the suit of running a drug trafficking ring while also spoiling drug and robbery investigations by leaking information to the targets.

Also named in the suit: former Police Chief Willie Lovett — already convicted in federal court for extortion — who is accused of stepping on corruption investigations, denying promotions and intimidating the whistleblowers by placing them under the direct supervision of the officers they tried to investigate for corruption.

And a third group named in the suit: current and former civic leaders who the whistleblowers met with to voice their concerns about corruption, including current Assistant Police Chief Juliette Tolbert, who the whistleblowers allege failed to act when they brought their accusations of corruption to her; former Chatham County Commission Chairmain Pete Liakakis and former Savannah City Manager Michael Brown, who the whistleblowers say heard the complaints but then still voted to promote Lovett to police chief over more than a dozen other candidates; and former Chatham County Manager Russ Abolt, who not only voted for Lovett’s promotion to chief, but allegedly tipped off Lovett on more than one occasion about how the whistleblowers had tried to meet with him to voice their concerns.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and invokes the state of Georgia’s RICO statute, claiming under Willie Lovett, the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department was a legitimate organization used for criminal racketeering.

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