Criminalizing Vice Turns Police into Criminalsby Will Grigg
Nov. 20, 2012
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For two and a half years, a married father of two children in Florida was paid to lure people into buying drugs from the police so that they could be prosecuted on felony narcotics charges.
The informant, who received a bounty of $325 per arrest, took male prospective suspects to strip clubs, where he induced strippers into cooperating in the so-called sting operations. He had sex with several of the female suspects, and took one of them on a tax-funded vacation.
Once this misconduct was revealed, prosecutors were compelled to drop more than a dozen cases in which the informant played a central role. For at least three of his victims, this came too late: Facing long prison terms for offenses that had been engineered by the police, they had taken plea bargains.
In Michigan, a detective with the Eastpointe Police Department has been accused of selling tires, slot machines, watches, and other merchandise that had been seized in the name of “asset forfeiture.” The items were fenced with the help of a former police informant, who gave the detective cash and drugs.
Prosecuting vices as if they were crimes doesn’t rid the world of vice; it merely turns the police into criminals.