Coerced Snitching: Fall-Out Continues in the Case of Murdered Informant Rachel Hoffman

The death of Rachel Hoffman, a 23-year-old social pot dealer in Tallahassee, Florida, who was killed by criminals police sent her to buy hard drugs and guns from after they arrested her and intimidated her into becoming a confidential informant, may not have been entirely in vain. This week, more than six months after her May murder, Hoffman's parents have filed a lawsuit over her death. Her family is now also working with lawmakers to craft legislation that would regulate the use of confidential informants.
Rachel Hoffman
Law enforcement use of snitches in drug cases is routine, mainly because since the parties involved in drug deals are not complaining to the police, they have no other easy way to develop cases. But American law enforcement has also developed a system that relies on "flipping" people arrested on drug charges -- getting them to agree to become informers in the hopes of seeing their own charges reduced. Such offers are usually accompanied by graphic predictions of how the arrestee would be mistreated in prison.

Despite being something of a drug reform activist herself, Hoffman fell into that trap after being charged with possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of Ecstasy with the intent to distribute. She agreed to act as a snitch for Tallahassee police and went off to do a controlled buy of guns and cocaine. Her police handlers lost contact with her as she met two men. Her body was found two days later.

While Tallahassee police initially defended their operation and blamed Hoffman for not following instructions, since then, one investigator has been fired and four others got two week unpaid vacations for their role in sending her to her death.

Now, Hoffman's parents want more. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court in Tallahassee, they accuse the Tallahassee police of negligence and are seeking unspecified monetary damages. Their attorney, Lance Brock, told the Tallahassee News the city would pay big time.

"It is a multi-million dollar case," he said. "Three words come to mind: Keystone Cop tragedy," said family attorney Lance Block. "It is mind-boggling that there were so many acts of incompetence by the TPD, combined with a cavalier lack of appreciation for the high risk of danger that its officers were exposing Rachel Hoffman to."

The city has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Efforts to reach a settlement have been underway, but Hoffman's parents did not want to wait any longer.

Hoffman's parents are also working with legislators to tighten the standards for using young people as snitches. The family is seeking passage of legislation to provide greater protections for police informants. A bill is expected to be filed in the coming weeks. State Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Ritchie) said he is working with a Hoffman attorney on drafting a bill to be introduced shortly. The bill could include banning police from using some people as informants or requiring them to take extra measures to protect informants and ensure that they understand the risks involved.

"It was a very sad, very sad situation," Fasano said. "We've got to do our best in working with law enforcement to protect young people like that... who don't realize what they're getting themselves into," he said. "We're not talking about a hardened criminal... We're talking about a young lady who may have had personal problems, but that doesn't mean we put her out there in a dangerous situation."

"Rachel Hoffman's parents have suffered the worst kind of loss a human being can endure: the loss of their only child," Block said. "The passage of Rachel's law and just compensation that sufficiently places the TPD and other law enforcement agencies on notice that what happened to Rachel is totally unacceptable are the only means our system offers the family to make sure that her death will not be in vain."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Are the Police Heroes? Ask the Tourism Bureau? Tal·la·has·see

I think not? May God give her Family peace and comfort in their time of great sorrow.

The police are not going to admit that they did anything wrong. Their indifference is evident by their very act. They are not heroes in this case. They have proven themselves, once again to be the over zealous monsters that they are. Monsters supported by small town administrations and backward government administrations.Tal·la·has·see [tàllə hássee]
capital of Florida, situated in the northern part of the state.
Population: 155,171 (2002 estimate) Just big enough to send a young lady to her death, as an informant.

Perhaps rehabilitation in a medical facility would have proven a better method of society? Not the indifference that was handed to Rachel by the police involved in her death. I bet these guy's think of themselves as heroes. Well I say they are not. They are just as much criminals as the men they were after. It also appears that the police were either to scared or to dumb to do the job that they were hired to do. So they sent Rachel Hoffman. 23 year old young lady that made a mistake. And when she made that mistake, the police took advantage of her. Now the police rest on their self percieved laurels

I call upon all Americans to stand up for Rachel Hoffman and demand the sanctioning of Law and sanctions for the police involved in Rachel Hoffman's death.

Not just in Tal·la·has·see [tàllə hássee]capital of Florida, situated in the northern part of the state.
Population: 155,171. But all across the United States. This would suit Rachel Hoffman's un-fortunate death and would Honor her properly.

This type of crime is happening all across this Great Nation of ours. It has happened to not only Rachel Hoffman. But it has happened to many other young adults and children all across America. In small towns and big cities The police go un-punished and usually are given citations for a job well done. They get their names in the local paper as heroes fighting the War On Drugs. Hypocrites hiding under the guise of to protect and to serve.

Well it is time to stop this senseless type of police work. The police must be held accountable for their acts in the course of their duties. Public Safety does not include sending a young lady or man or child to thier deaths. It is painful to know. We must introduce and create and make into law, "Rachel's Law".

The indifference shown by this particular poilce agency is typical of the police culture all across the United States, as evidenced by the many young people and children that are used as informants by police all across this Great Nation of ours.

It is time to stand up and write your congress people with regard to this typical behavior by police. Not only in Tallahassee , but all over the United States. Tell them "Rachel's Law" must be a United States standard of law across the nation.

Rachel's Law would enable our children to be free from being used by police as informants. "Traditional" or "Non-Traditional", However the police want to define the usage. No loop-holes.

"Rachel's Law" would hold the police accountable to the very laws that they swear an oath to uphold. The Laws of the United States of America. All across America.
Let us not stop inTallahassee. Let us protect citizens everywhere, in every town, large or small.

God Bless the Hoffmans. I support you lovely people in your quest to stop the carnage that is disguised as the War on Drugs.

The police that were directly involved will answer to God. In the mean time they must answer to the laws of the United States of America. One nation under God.

I am certain that the Officers involved with Rachel's death will not have to answer to the people of Tallahassee. This will be a shame embedded into the History of Tal·la·has·see [tàllə hássee] capital of Florida, situated in the northern part of the state. Population: 155,171 (-1)

Peace and Unity America for it is the only way that we will survive. Rachel Hoffman, we Love you from Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman, God Bless.

Rachels' Law - Past Due

Stupid laws written people who want to micromanage society are causing more damage to our society. The war on drugs is a complete failure as it has become a war on liberty at the expense of taxpayers.

Today, Americans have little access to their legislators as the are over 70 lobbyists per Congressman and those lobbyists provide the majority of campaign financing funds.

The change we really need is for fair access to our legislators. That is why a small but growing group of American Voters have decided to write and promote a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution called the Fair Access Amendment.

You can read about it here and tell your contacts.

Even if you are a non-drug user like me, you can understand that this war on drugs needs to come to an end. It costs too many lives, destroys personal liberty and is a violation of the 9th and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

For too long, politicians and judges have turned away from the U.S. Constitution with the excuse that "the end justifies the means" attitude. How many more Rachel Hoffmans have to lose their lives before we take action?

Signed - [email protected]

Your proposed amendment to the Constitution

This is an amendment to the Constitution I can support, Just so you know, I do not support many new laws. I also support the effort to get a "Rachel's Law" passed, we must bring these arrogant law enforcement agencies under control, and the sooner the better.

Too many times cops who've MURDERED an innocent (or even someone who was guilty of a minor, non-violent crime) get off scott-free, while honest (and, most frequently, also innocent of any crime prior to the "break-in") citizens who mistake SWAT entries into their homes as a criminal home invasion (actually, it is NOT a mistake, such entries ARE criminal, even when done by law enforcement) get the book thrown at them if they even wound a cop in the process of what they believe is defending their homes/families against criminals. Talk about a double standard!

Since when is the life of a cop (or any politician, including the President of the USA) of any more value than the life of any other citizen? And since when should cops get any lighter sentence for killing a citizen than a citizen would get for killing a cop? What the hell makes cops and politicians think they are so "special"? All that self importance is only in their own arrogant minds. Constitutionally, they are our equals (and our employees), not our superiors.


Police use of snitches and flipping, is not flipping by the use of horror stories about how someone will be treated in prison, not the same as Religious Flipping or Conversion? Psychological Conversion? or Brain Washing for that matter?

A while back I was visiting a South American Nation, the day I left, I had to fly from one city to another, at the first city, I noticed this truly ugly tall American man following me around the airport then he ducked behind the counter and went back into the baggage area of the terminal.

When I got to the second city to catch my flight back to the United States, I went to the airline counter to check in I was told that the airline had accidentally sent my luggage on the wrong flight, and that I could not fly back to the United States until they retrieved my luggage, so that It could be checked on the same plane that I was on.

I waited in the terminal for several hours, at one point I was approached by an airline official, who wanted to speak to me in private. He explained that the reason my luggage was put on the wrong plane, was that a USG official had demanded to see my luggage, and rather than allow him to see my luggage they had sent it out to the wrong airplane. 

That night when I finally arrived in Miami, it was too late for a plane to my final destination, so the airline provided me with a motel room for the night. I checked into my room, and left immediately and took a  cab to the nearest good Cuban Restaurant.

After a good meal I took a cab back to the motel, when I got to my room the room was really cold, the air conditioning was turned all the way down, my suitcase was open and my clothing were spread all over the bed, my belongings had been thoroughly searched.

It was stated that the people in the luggage area of the first city had this sort of thing happen before and thet they, "knew the drill" and they did not allow the USG official to plant cocaine in my luggage. So since that they "knew the drill" this sort of thing happens frequently.

This is the very tip of the iceberg, or  of an extremely corrupt society, that great society called the United States.

I have absolutely no idea how many times sick things like this have been tried on me, Why does a government continue to do this to someone with Asperger's, I simply am not going to flip. 

Not only do I have Asperger's I have no Amygdalae, without Amygdalae, one can not be made to flip or psychological convert.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School