Scranton Raid: Why So Many Cops?

SCRANTON -- State troopers and agents with the state attorney general's office descended on Downtown Scranton Thursday, spending 13 hours gathering documents and computer drives in a raid of three buildings.

A day later, questions remain. What exactly were they looking for? And why did they need so many cops to do it?

Police say most officers were needed at the Lackawanna County Prison on North Washington Avenue. Agents were sent inside a potentially dangerous prison environment to get paperwork and computer drives.

But why were so many cops needed at the county administration building, where police cruisers blocked a lane of traffic for six hours?

One local attorney tells Newswatch 16 it was to secure evidence.

Kingston attorney Vito DeLuca was Luzerne County solicitor during the FBI's raid on that county's court annex in Wilkes-Barre in 2008, which led to the indictments of "kids-for-cash" judges, Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella.

In yesterday's raid in Scranton, DeLuca says extra troopers were likely needed because of the number of offices searched and the building's many exits.

"The public has access in and out, I think for maintaining the evidence and preserving the evidence ... It's critical that there be sufficient manpower to handle that," DeLuca said.

It still remains unclear exactly who is targeted.

Newswatch 16 has learned the raid was triggered by a statewide grand jury that met outside of Philadelphia. That investigation was set up by a federal lawsuit filed in Scranton last year.

The suit by former female inmates accuses nine current or former corrections officers of rape. It also cites Lackawanna County Commissioner Pat O'Malley, claiming he "specifically leaked information that he learned from the prison board meetings to (a female corrections officer), warning her that she was going to be investigated. This was part of the cover-up..."

O'malley is not answering questions about the raid or the suit. His lawyer called claims raised in that lawsuit "scandalous and irrelevant."

Even if anyone is indicted as a result of the raid, it's likely to take time. Ciavarella and Conahan were charged 15 months after the 2008 raid.

DeLuca says people shouldn't expect a quick arrest as a result of yesterday's raid in Scranton.

4 comments

  • warningfakenews

    Look at the PINAC and HonorYourOath investigations on you tube. It seems that for just one guy with a camera photographing what public officials do on public property, there is an abundance of police manpower to attempt confront that. (harass and intimidate)

    Public officials act out of offices which have cameras everywhere, use cameras both fixed and while on patrol, as well as the latest technology which can scan license plates on any vehicle nearby, immediately check for validity or other concerns, but a simple camera in the PUBLIC’S hands aimed at them is dangerous and worthy of a massive response.

    In short, they can muster up manpower if need be, and for some reason here- they thought they had such a need.

  • Real People

    Stop the sh** about Pat O’Malley he’s the best Lackawanna County Commissioner that region has ever had.All he ever did was give back to that area and the working class people of Lackawanna County don’t point fingers at the GOOD GUY’S PLEASE!

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