Rachel Hoffman Fallout: One Officer Fired, Others Reprimanded

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At long last, we’re seeing some accountability for the officers who got Rachel Hoffman killed after coercing her into working as an informant in the mindbending botched drug sting disaster of the century:

Police Chief Dennis Jones requested that investigator Ryan Pender's employment be terminated.

Jones also wanted this disciplinary action taken: Deputy Chief John Proctor, reprimand; Capt. Chris Connell, two-week suspension without pay; Lt. Taltha White, two week suspension without pay; Sgt. David Odom, two week suspension without pay; Sgt. Rod Looney, two week suspension without pay.

Jones is reassigning White, Odom and Connell within the department.

"We have taken the necessary time to conduct a thorough and honest review and asked others to examine our operations," Jones says in the statement from the city. He said he has contacted Hoffman's family and provided a report.

"While we cannot change the events of May 7, we can make the type of changes within the department to help ensure our future actions are consistent with policy," Jones said.

[City Manager] Thompson also issued a reprimand to Jones to require a stronger level of supervision from top to bottom in the department. [Tampa Bay Online]

Anything resembling police accountability in the war on drugs is so rare that we should really take a moment to just reflect on this. Miraculously, we’ve reached a point where all you have to do to get the cops in trouble is be a pretty white girl with a loving family and hundreds of friends, get sucked into a steaming cauldron of first-rate drug enforcement incompetence, and perish dramatically on 20/20’s tear-jerker TV special of the season.

That’s what it takes, because despite the all-encompassing aversion of police officials towards acknowledging even mild misconduct, it’s still easier than conceding that the entire drug informant system is fundamentally corrupt and perverted to its core. This isn’t about Officer Pender, it isn’t about Tallahassee, and it isn’t going to get any better just because a couple incompetent cops got called out. The Burn Em’ & Bail Drug Informant Circus of Horror is a national tour sponsored by the war on drugs and it won’t go away until every last one of us makes it abundantly clear that we want no part of this. Not with our money, not in our community, and not in our name.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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The cops still should have gone to jail...

The article makes some great points, but there just aren't enough citizens standing up against Prohibition V 2.0. Most Americans are completely ignorant, as this farce of an election demonstrates.

We need to make the penalties for police much harsher - so harsh that they are no longer willing to risk their own freedom in their attempts to deny others the same. If cops actually faced some consequences for their anti-liberty activities, this madness would eventually stop.

What it takes

In Tulia Tx. a local man started asking questions long before the press took any interest in the story. Only when an arrorney took a sure fire case that would prove his client was not even in town when the officer, Tom Coleman claimed he bought drugs from the defendant, did the press break the story.

Another story like Tulia is what happened in Coos Bay, Oregon. What surprises me is that the public seems unconcerned that, a mentally ill school bus driver with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, who had committed perjury in two seperate trials became the states confidential informant and only eye witness in another Tulia style sting operation. The catch here is that the mainstream madia and the task force unit made her out to be a crediable witness until the trials started. Twenty four people were arrested in the sting, two were found not guilty.

Help spread this story, stop the cover up, lets put an end to the Edward Byrne grant. http://scint-stinks.com

Rachel's Ripple Effect

The Rachel Hoffman story is in its early stages.  For now, this tragic case has given reformers a window of opportunity to address all aspects of informant-based law enforcement.

Certainly police coercion is an issue that can be targeted for review.  Using coercion to produce an informant in a drug case is a bit like waterboarding people to get a confession.  Legalized informant coercion by rogue cops has virtually the same potential for abuse as laws that deregulate the finance industry.

If extremely coercive measures are to remain an option, priorities in law enforcement should at least focus these extreme measures only on extreme crimes.  Drug crimes in themselves don’t qualify as being extreme, as most drug prosecutions lack a complaining victim.

A better option is to eliminate all but the most serious crimes that depend exclusively upon informants for their successful enforcement.  Rather than a nation of informants, it’s better that the criminal laws remain accusatorial.

Giordano

Drug cop;

what a great job! For overgrown schoolyard bullies. You get to carry big guns, pick on people smaller than you, beat up girls, and the more you fuck up, the more overtime pay you get. Even better, when your arrogance gets people killed, you get a paid vacation!

I honestly believe that every police force in the nation needs to be purged. Completely.

Cops Pay for Enforcing the Law

While it is tragic that Rachel Hoffman was killed the blame was placed in the wrong direction. The two people who murdered her should be punished as they will be, but the firing of cops was overboard. People seem to forget that she was a drug dealer. She wasn't caught with a personal use amount of drugs, she was dealing and thereby contributing to the downfall of our society just like other drug dealers. She was a FSU graduate and could have got a job just like other people do but she chose to take the easy way and wanted fast cash.

Tallahassee Police Department doing their job busted her and offered her a way out and they get punished?.......She was facing years in prison they simply gave her a choice. Operative word being CHOICE. She didn't have to become an informant. She could have said no and did her time in prison but again wanted to take the easy way. Anytime drugs, guns and money are involved there is a potential for danger. She knew that. Things can and do go wrong. As much as police try to control every aspect of a situation it is not always possible.

Confidential drug informants are killed everyday, whether they go off the reservation or not. Their stories haven't showed up in the media. People say it just another drug dealer that got killed over drug prohibition. And if she wasn't a Florida State University graduate with middle class parents the public would not have expressed so much interest and she wouldn't have been in the media either.

Wow.

This kind of talk is increasingly alienating the public. When the law is used as an excuse for behavior that shocks the public consciousness, it creates ammunition for reform. So keep it up, please.

But you can't defend police encouraging her to buy a gun. To buy crack. To do things she wasn't trained to do. Things she'd never done until the day the police came into her life. Rachel did what she did, but no one was hurt until the drug war got involved.

To whatever extent these officers were "just doing their job" merely illustrates the urgent need for a rewriting of their job description.

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