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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Washington Post: witness intimidation a continuing problem

This Washington Post story is entitled "Dozens in D.C., Maryland paid the ultimate price for cooperating with the police." It documents numerous recent deaths and the continued threats to cooperating witnesses.  From the story:

[A]t least 37 people in the District and Maryland [] have been killed since 2004 for cooperating with law enforcement or out of fear that they might, according to a Washington Post examination of hundreds of police and court records. . . . .
 
The Post’s review found that among those killed for cooperating with authorities or out of fear that they might: 
●At least 19 didn’t receive protection, including a confidential informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration who was lured to a home by a drug dealer’s girlfriend and then fatally shot by the dealer. 
●At least five were killed after defense attorneys learned their names or other identifying information and told their clients. In one case, a lawyer tipped off a defendant that prosecutors wanted to interview the witness. Six days later, the witness was found dead.
●Nine were offered protection but declined, including a 38-year-old Baltimore County man who was unaware of the long criminal history — including murder, attempted murder and firearms charges — of the man he was scheduled to testify against. 
●At least five were slain after they were relocated but returned to their old neighborhoods. 
●In at least four cases, charges against a defendant were dropped after the witness was killed.