When confidential informants get killed

When confidential informants get killed
Her father sat by his daughter’s grave.
She was a confidential informant.

If the police are trying to catch a criminal, many times they’ll use an informant, who they recruit after they’ve been caught doing something illegal.

Informants are the foot soldiers in the government’s war on drugs. By some estimates, up to eighty per cent of all drug cases in America involve them… For police departments facing budget woes, untrained C.I.s provide an inexpensive way to outsource the work of undercover officers. "The system makes it cheap and easy to use informants, as opposed to other, less risky but more cumbersome approaches," says Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a leading expert on informants. "There are fewer procedures in place and fewer institutional checks on their use." Often, deploying informants involves no paperwork and no institutional oversight, let alone lawyers, judges, or public scrutiny; their use is necessarily shrouded in secrecy.

It doesn’t always go as planned, as in the case of LeBron Gaither.

After one of these stings, Gaither, by then eighteen, was called upon
to testify before a grand jury against Jason Noel, a local drug dealer
whom he’d set up. The next day, the police sent Gaither out with a wire
and cash to buy still more drugs from Noela decision that one state
attorney later called the most "reckless, stupid, and idiotic idea" he
had seen in his nineteen years of legal work. The meeting was to take
place in the parking lot of a local grocery store; Gaither was
instructed to say, "This looks good," once he had the drugs in hand. At
that point, the police would move in for the arrest. If something went
wrong, he was to say, "I wish my brother was here," and officers would
hasten to his aid.

Shortly after the sting began, however,
detectives lost track of Gaither when Noel, who had learned of the
teen’s testimony from a grand juror, drove off with him. Gaither was
tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over
by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods.

Read the article: The Throwaways. Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal, The New Yorker>>

Man found guilty in Rachel Hoffman’s murder, Tampa Bay Times>>

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