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Informant Identified in Fatal Maple Tree/Marijuana Mix-up

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.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Ryan Frederick Case

It is amazing to me, This occured 1 mile from me yet i have to go to this website to find out whats going on.....


I agree with the poster above. I am about 20 miles from the neighborhood where this tragic, unnecessary mess happened and I have not heard a word about it either, until now.

Media blackout

I live in Norfolk, absolutely no word of this here. This is scary.

Start a rally?

Well at least 3 of you are aware of this now. Maybe it's time to take it to the streets and let the rest of your neighborhood know?

We're in a police state

At what point will law enforcement take responsibility for its own crimes? If a police officer ran into traffic and got killed, would the driver who hit the officer be charged with murder?

Actually, there is a case

Actually, there is a case going on here in the Houston area, wherein an off-duty Deputy Constable was being called to a case, rear-ended a moving truck, flipped his SUV (which was rented), and ended up killing himself. Oh, and the Deputy Constable's BAC was .17. He had no seatbelt on, nor were there any lights on his "cruiser". Now, the Harris County DA is trying to try this man (who is an illegal immigrant) for Capital Murder. I say charge him for being here illegaly, deport him, and we mourn the stupidity of this officer... but, that's just me.

Bureaucrats with badges

What do bureaucrats do best? Protect their own asses. What does the news media ,that we have today, do best? What they're told. Hence,news blackout. EVERYBODY needs to hear about this tell someone today!

Informant Identified in Fatal Maple Tree/Marijuana Mix-up

Be glad you didn't live next door! If you read more about this, you will see that the "informant" told police that the alleged marijuana was growing in the garage, so why did the police go into Ryan Frederick' s home?If they didn't know the difference between his garage and house, what's to say they couldn't tell the difference between Frederick's home and his neighbor's?Not to mention that the "informant" had broken into Ryan Frederick' s home 3 days prior, and Ryan Frederick was still reeling from that only to be victimized by the police again.
It seems to me that the police "enabled" the informant by overlooking him breaking into Ryan Frederick' s home only to uncover his private stash, which if there were no prohibition against in the first place, a law abiding citizen would not have to be associated with a low life criminal informant to posses.Who can fight the government when the DEA itself undermines established state law and raids approved marijuana dispensaries?Noone should die or serve time over a plant!!!

One thing i feel i must say

"It's a tragedy, to be sure, but it's certainly not Frederick's fault. Not in the slightest."

I disagree with this. It is slightly, (although very slightly), Frederick's fault. Even if he thought he was just a burlglar, I personally don't think you should have the right to kill someone just because they want to steal your tv. I mean, I understand it's confusing and scary to have someone break into your home unexpectedly, but picking up a gun and shooting someone is no trivial thing. I would agree more with the above statement if we knew for sure that the officer breaking in was waiving his gun around or pointing it at Frederick (which, of course, is likely). If he wasn't, though, then not so much. A burglar who has a gun is likely to just have it as a backup or for intimidation, especially if he's not even holding the gun in his hand. Of course, Frederick could not have known the man's intentions, and was indeed just protecting himself, and also, Frederick is not a cop and is not trained to handle these situations; however, it was still the wrong thing to do. My point is this: I understand it was the situation which led to this death more than it was Frederick, and I understand the intruding officers (and the drug war in general) were the ones who caused this situation. I don't know that I would have been able to perform any better myself, but Frederick did make the wrong decision.

I'm not so sure

I believe your analysis is more or less consistent with state law in VA, so Frederick is potentially in some trouble even if he can prove he didn't know it was a cop.

I think that sucks, however. I think the law should allow violent attacks against people who break into your house. Any other policy creates complex gray areas, and determining fault in the heat of the moment is hard enough as it is. If you can't use deadly force against intruders, then you're screwed if they actually do intend to kill you.

Using deadly force

Is the 2nd main reason for the Second Amendment, the other reason being the need "to throw off such government" when it has become oppressive, as per T. Jefferson's words.

Obviously, our government has become extremely oppressive; unfortunately, now our government, also, has us outgunned. Nevertheless, the right to self defense is still the Law of the land, and any state that doesn't recognize that is acting in an unconstitutional manner. "A man's home is his castle" has long been enshrined in our tradition, and defending one's home should not be cause for arrest, regardless if the intruder is inside or outside the law and regardless if the intruder emerges unhurt, is injured, or is killed.

Isn't Virgina T. Jefferson's home state? What's up with that state's legislature going so far from his ideals with their gun and home defense laws?

I was raised by people born

I was raised by people born in the late 19th century when a man's home was his inviolable castle and warrants were required for police to enter. Anyone stupid enough to break and enter was assumed armed and dangerous and had to expect a bullet. Should a person, secure in his home, be expected to INTERVIEW some moron breaking into his house to determine his motives?

I have a wife and daughter to protect and I don't give a damn if I do go to jail for shooting him. At least my family's safety will have been assured. I think we'd all be safer if we could go back to the way things were because there would be a lot fewer crooks if they knew they might be killed thusly. It would save a lot of court costs and alleviate the public from having to support the idiots in jail.

As well, it would also give cops pause to consider crashing down a door and entering unannounced for an unwarranted search.


i have alot of firearms training, and i can tell u in my house i hear u in the dark, u get 1 warning "get out, i'm unarmed and don't want any trouble" if they have wrong house, or are cops or thought no one was home they'll leave...or yell poliece, if not why let them know u have a gun? if that warning isnt enough to persuade u to leave then obviously you must intend harm or why would you still be there? and if u approach bedroom thinking you have a scarred victim all the better when you see the muzzel flash of the shotgun.if you broke into a mans home and u end up dead, good prevents you from harming anyone else (i should end the cleaning bill to your mother for not raising you better). if your a cop stupid enough to execute a pettey drug warrent at night, u deserve the same for violating the sanctity of a mans home or even applying for a warent for an action that endangers the homeowner, you should have the sense to know these types of raids are both un-nessecary and endanger the lives of all involved on both sides, if you are to dumb to realise that only thing i can say is you're leaving in a bag not me. if you had the sense to conduct a day raid you would still be alive i appologise to your family on your behalf for your bad life choices. And as for the poor officer just doing what he was told.... that excuse was used already... by hitlers troops.. grow a pair and refuse duty you know is unconstitutional and morally wrong the life you save may be your own.The right to defend one's family and self is a inate animal right, not one granted to us... you enter my home and i guarantee if i make a mistake i'm going to err on the part of my and my families saftey, if you die in the process thats your own fault for putting me in a situation to have to make a snap decision in the dark after hearing a break in. i fully respect life and am a peacefull person, i'll give u the shirt off my back... if u ask, but am more than ok ending your life over a 2 dollar watch if u try to take it by force. you decided your life was worth less than that watch, not me.
every time an officer participates in a raid he needs to ask himself am i willing to die for the good this will do for the world? if the answer is no then if you proceed you should be tried for reckless endangerment at the very least, the harm you could cause being worse than the crime your stopping is reckless at best and suicidal at worst. also if a judge wants to sign a warrent, he would do well to remember, if my family was killed because of a warrent you signed... god himself won't save your ass from me with a chipper shredder when i find you, so unless your sure you can lock me up forever remember every time you sign a warrent you risk your own life, not just the homeowners, i'd start with the judge and work my way to the cops involved, i'd throw my life away to make sure you bastards don't ever do that to anyone else, there are alot of people who feel this way, most are afraid to admit it.

the moral: the govt dosen't have a right to issue any warrents unless it is a life or death matter ex: kidnapping, rape, child abuse, murder anything else is wipeing your ass with the constitution and you deserve to be hung in public as a warning to all the other judges that make light of signing warrents... sign the wrong one and it could be your own death warrent

how about those guns that make animals go to sleep?

there are guns that shoot needles that put animals to sleep. they probably take, i'm guessing, at least ten seconds to go into effect, so they wouldn't be ideal to protect yourself from a man with a gun. however, maybe if we were able to design some sort of gun that would incapacitate immediately somehow. i admit, i don't know how it could be done, but that doesn't mean no one in the world could come up with an idea. it would be a great thing to have for self defense, and you would know that you could use it without endangering anyone's life.


if you bust down this innocent civillians door i did not spend three years there to let some punk do thatim a viet nam vet there aint enough armor in the world to stop you from being tagged .say good by to mama before you kick down my door we all go to hell that night

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