September 24, 2009

Police officer guilty of tip to ‘Pooh’

A former Philadelphia police officer was convicted Thursday of warning Los Angeles Clippers point guard Jerome Pooh Richardson about a drug raid.

The target of the raid was Alton Ace Capone Coles. At the time, Richardson's sister was living with Coles in southern New Jersey.

Jurors in U.S. District Court found the former officer, Rickie Durham, 44, guilty of two counts of obstruction of justice and one of lying to law enforcement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Prosecutors said he could be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

Richardson, who had received immunity, was a reluctant prosecution witness this week. He and Durham, who was best man at his wedding, had been friends since childhood.

While working with a federal drug task force, Durham called Richardson several hours before the August 2005 raid, Richardson said. Richardson said he then called his sister and told her to get out of the house she shared with Coles.

Durham was suspended after his indictment this year and later dismissed from the force.