Lesley Stahl reports on law enforcement’s controversial use of young confidential informants in the war on drugs, some of whose cases ended tragically
Rachel Hoffman’s tragic death turned [Lance] Block into an advocate. He sued the City of Tallahassee and won a $2.8 million settlement for Rachel’s parents, and he has argued for more openness and greater protection for confidential informants ever since.
via http://www.cbsnews.com/news/confidential-informants-60-minutes-lesley-stahl/ [full episode available here]
College kids aren’t as low (age-wise) as Florida police will go in recruitment. I’ve written more than once about “Caged Crusader” Harold Hempstead and his ignored pleas for justice for Darren Rainey, a mentally ill Dade Correctional Institution inmate who was scalded to death by guards in June of 2012.
I addressed the fact that Harold shouldn’t be in prison, under the hidden-from-the-jury circumstances that relate Harold’s conviction to Lesley Stahl’s Confidential Informant segment. Here is part of what I wrote:
Darren Rainey was black, and a Muslim; Harold Hempstead is white, and a Christian, but the two men did have one thing in common: neither of them belonged in prison.
Darren was mentally ill, and belonged in a medical facility, if he should have been charged at all for possessing a minor amount of cocaine … it is common for the mentally ill to self-medicate with street drugs since mental health services have been defunded.
Harold’s story is more complex than Darren’s only if you choose to believe that it isn’t child abuse for Florida law enforcement agencies to entice a vulnerable middle school student to do dangerous work for them, and that such a child not only could, but must – somehow – be more resistant to eventually going rogue than an actual undercover cop.
As to whether Harold actually went rogue, all I’m willing to say at this point is that the Miami Herald hasn’t told the whole story, and I won’t, either. Not yet.
In that post and a subsequent one, I asked President Obama to extend his presidential powers to enable him to pardon all inmates that shouldn’t be incarcerated, as he can currently only pardon those who were convicted of federal offenses. At present, we are a tradition-based society; the related body count makes it clear it’s time to become a solutions-based society.