By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Felony drug cases against 18 people have been withdrawn because the Pennsylvania police officer who arrested them is under criminal investigation.

The Lackawanna County district attorney’s office withdrew the cases late last month because of alleged misconduct by Scranton Police Cpl. Thomas McDonald, the Times-Tribune reported Wednesday.

The district attorney wrote in court filings Dec. 30 that the allegations against the 46-year-old officer cast “significant doubt on his credibility and compromises the integrity” of the investigations he ran.

“It’s exceptionally disappointing,” District Attorney Mark Powell said.

Public documents confirm that McDonald is under investigation but do not detail the allegations. Both Powell and Police Chief Carl Graziano declined to go into the claims against the officer, who has not been criminally charged.

McDonald, a 17-year veteran of the police department, declined to comment to the Times-Tribune on Tuesday.

McDonald was on placed administrative duty starting in August, meaning he was prohibited from interacting with the public or working on the street, and was placed on paid leave Friday, Graziano said.

Defendants were informed by letter in October, Powell said.

The drug charges were dropped “without prejudice,” which means prosecutors could pick them up again at a later date.

“That door is open, but frankly if we could prosecute them, we wouldn’t withdraw,” Powell said.

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