• SNITCHING: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice
  • U.S. Attorney General's Guidelines on the FBI's Use of Confidential Human Sources
  • Sarah Stillman, The Throwaways, The New Yorker (2012) (article on the use of juvenile informants)

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

San Francisco police use violent career criminal as informant

The San Francisco Weekly and the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute just released this indepth story about the SFPD's use of a high-level gang leader as an informant over several years: Cover of Darkness: S.F. Police turned a blind eye to some of the city's most dangerous criminals--who were also some of their most trusted soures. The story documents the clash between the S.F. police who protected their violent source in violation of their own policies, and the federal agents who ultimately arrested him. The debacle elicited scathing criticism from former law enforcement. From the story:
Thirty-year law enforcement veteran Chuck Drago and former police commissioner Peter Keane both believe that the existence of rogue informants for SFPD's specialized Gang Task Force and Narcotics Bureau indicates serious flaws in the department's internal checks and balances. (The SFPD's Narcotics Bureau, Gang Task Force, and Media Relations Office wouldn't comment on the department's handling of violent informants for this story.) "Somebody is dropping the ball in management," says Drago. "SFPD have let loose an unguided missile on the public" by allowing dangerous men like Sandoval (and, as we'll see, at least one other) to stay at large in spite of their offenses, says Keane. "No modern police force with any professionalism engages in that sort of practice anymore."