• 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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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Bulk arrests and convictions based on unreliable informants

This story from Tennessee reminded me of the high profile snitch debacle in Hearne, Texas in which a confidential informant working for the local drug task force set up dozens of innocent African Americans.  Similarly, in Tracy City, Tennessee, the city and the police department are being sued by an innocent couple who--along with 29 other people--were set up by an unsupervised drug informant.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

"Tina Prater walked into the police station with a reputation as a drug addict and a con artist. She walked out with a tape recorder, some cash and a mission: help the police chief arrest anyone whose name made it onto their list. Prater, 47, has admitted in a sworn affidavit that she framed people while working as a confidential informant for the Tracy City Police Department in 2017. She recruited imposters to act as other people, recorded audio of purported drug deals and turned the tapes over to Chief Charlie Wilder, who oversees just four officers in one of Tennessee's poorest and most drug-addicted counties."

And here is another story just like these two, in which a Florida drug informant admitted that she set up innocent people by fabricating drug deals: she did it in exchange for money, a home, and custody of her children.