Sunday, October 18, 2009
Snitching ain't easy
Posted by David Markus
Lots of interesting reading on this beautiful Sunday. The Sun-Sentinel has a couple of interesting stories on snitching:
1. The first is about a state prosecutor, Sheila Alu, turned FBI informant in the Broward public corruption case:
"Sheila is for Sheila is for Sheila," said Bill Colon, who served two terms as a Sunrise commissioner in the 1980s. "A lot of people will believe that she betrayed their trust."Marvin Langendorf, a Sunrise resident and City Hall gadfly, applauded her courage."There's too much graft going on and no one ever does anything about it," Langendorf said. "People say they can't trust her. But if you don't do anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about."Those who are not involved in politics likely admire Alu for having the courage to take on an undercover role without training, said Lance deHaven-Smith, a political science professor at Florida State University."If you told your average citizen, 'Other politicians don't trust her,' that would be an endorsement," he said.Call her a snitch or a rat, and Alu has this retort: "I wear that badge with honor."
"Unlike any gangs I've seen before, they stick together," said the gang detective.On June 26, 2008, detectives in "Operation Deep Six" moved in to take down Top 6. Backed by a grand jury indictment that alleged 91 crimes, SWAT teams from three police agencies raided six homes simultaneously.Detectives tracked down the Top 6 leaders, arresting all 12 within a few weeks.Faced with racketeering charges that could put them in prison for up to 30 years, Top 6's leaders cracked.Jessee Thomas and Ernst Exavier were convicted but got reduced sentences for agreeing to testify against their cohorts. Top 6's leader, Futo Charles, also has agreed to cooperate."I know for me to work it down, I have to be 100% truthful about your questions and about my answers or the deal is off," Charles wrote to prosecutors. "I'm willing to do just that."After at least 20 murders, hundreds of shootings and scores of robberies, burglaries and attacks, Top 6 effectively has been silenced. Palm Beach County is safer today because of it, said police officials and prosecutors."We have seen a real drop in crime," said William Shepherd, Florida's statewide prosecutor. "Which is lives. It's not just numbers on the page."