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Informant Identified in Fatal Maple Tree/Marijuana Mix-up

Submitted by smorgan on

Radley Balko reports that we might now know the identity of the confidential informant who mistook Japanese maple trees for marijuana, leading to the death of a police officer and murder charges against an innocent man.

The informant had a conflict with Ryan Frederick, so he broke into his house, misidentified his plants, and told police Frederick was growing marijuana. When police raided the home, Frederick mistook them for burglars and opened fire, killing a police officer. He's now sitting jail, awaiting trial for killing a cop.

This utterly tragic and absurd situation is the natural and predictable byproduct of our mindless war on drugs, which allows incompetent idiots with ulterior motives to provide probable cause for violent police raids.

Radley has some background on the case here.

Update: From comments, "If a police officer ran into traffic and got killed, would the driver who hit the officer be charged with murder?" I think that analogy comes pretty close to being fair. Frederick wasn't growing marijuana. He had no reason to think the people bursting into his home were anything other than common criminals, so he defended himself in good faith. The officer was killed because he went somewhere he didn't belong. It's a tragedy, to be sure, but it's certainly not Frederick's fault. Not in the slightest.

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