New Yorker staff writer Sarah Stillman has just been awarded a George Polk Award for her article, “The Throwaways,” which investigates law enforcement’s unregulated use of young confidential informants in drug cases. Stillman details how police broker deals with young, untrained informants to perform high-risk operations with few legal protections in exchange for leniency — and sometimes fatal results. Stillman joins us to discuss her eight-month investigation, which has spurred calls for reform in several states.
Democracy Now is joined by Margie Weiss, the mother of Rachel Hoffman. After police found drugs in her apartment, Hoffman agreed to assist Florida officers in a major undercover deal involving meeting two convicted felons alone to buy two-and-a-half ounces of cocaine, 1,500 Ecstasy pills, and a semi-automatic handgun. Within days, her body was found shot five times with the gun that the police had sent her to buy. We also speak with Alexandra Natapoff, professor of Law at Loyola Law School and author of “Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice.”
(If you’re short on time, skip to Part 2)