May 30, 2013: Philadelphia Police Officer Jonathan Lazarde was arrested today and charged with Bribery, Theft by Extortion and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility. All of the charges are felonies. Lazarde’s arrest is the result of an eight week investigation by officers of the Internal Affairs Division of the Philadelphia Police Department.
In early April of 2013, the Police Department received information that 27-year-old Officer Jonathan Lazarde had allegedly attempted to extort $3,000 from a defendant who Lazarde had previously arrested for alleged firearms violations. Lazarde offered to assure the defendant’s acquittal on these charges in exchange for the money. The Internal Affairs Division was initially able to corroborate contacts between the defendant and Lazarde through the use of phone and text message records. This defendant (informant/complainant) subsequently agreed to cooperate with police.
Negotiations between the informant/complainant and Lazarde continued and resulted in a meeting where the informant/complainant paid $5,000, as demanded, to Lazarde for his agreement not to appear in Court for the informant/complainant’s case.
Lazarde was stopped by Internal Affairs Division officers as he left this meeting and found in possession of the $5,000. This money had been provided to the informant/complainant by the police after being prerecorded and chemically treated with an ultraviolet marker. The $5,000 recovered from Lazarde was identical to the funds provided to the informant/complainant. Lazarde’s hands and pants pocket were also marked with the ultraviolet chemical marker previously placed on the money.
The conversation between Lazarde and the informant/complainant during the above described payment was recorded by police. Subsequently, the Internal Affairs Division was also able to corroborate these allegations through the use of phone and text message records.
Lazarde turned himself into Internal Affairs this morning and is currently being processed by police.