Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Confidential Police Informants Aren't Always What They Appear

When we hear the term "confidential police informant" used, we often assume the informant is a private citizen knowledgeable of criminal activity whose identity must be protected to avoid harm to them by those the informant is aiding law enforcement in exposing and bringing to justice. We assume the informant is either a do-gooder whistle blower, or a criminal who has turned over a new leaf in life and wants to repent for their sins. Unfortunately, that's not always true.

Take the case of a 37-year old Chicago man, Eugene Andrews, who has just been arrested by Chicago police for carrying out a cold-blooded murder last weekend. The Chicago Tribune says that Andrews was captured on a surveillance camera walking up to another man, Darren Ray, on the city's west side and giving him a friendly hug. Shortly thereafter, Andrews drove his black car with black rims to a nearby alley where he was followed on foot by Ray. What happened next is chilling. Police say Andrews pulled a gun from his waist, pointed it at Ray, who raised his hands in the air before Andrews fired two shots at him, fatally injuring him. Andrews fled the scene but was captured by police about a half mile from the scene of the shooting.

Chicago police relied on a special agent for the FBI to identify Andrews. It turns out that Andrews had been working for the FBI as a confidential informant in a narcotics investigation since his release from prison on December 31, 2012. Andrews had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a parole violation when he shot and killed Ray. Andrews served just 8 years of a 15-year sentence given to him in 2003 for the attempted murder of another man in 1999. Andrews had been out of jail a short time in 1999 after he served a two-year term for felony weapons violation and delivery of a look-alike substance.

Then there's the recent case of Frazier Glenn Cross, a/k/a Glenn Miller. He's the former KKK leader recently arrested for killing three persons at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City earlier this month. It turns out that Cross had worked as a paid FBI informant after he had been placed in a federal witness protection program, given a new name and social security number way back in 1987. The Vietnam War veteran founded the Carolina Knights and the White Patriot Party.

Federal prosecutors used him as its star witness in a North Carolina case involving the killing of three gay men who ran an adult book store. The feds case unraveled when defense attorneys for one of the two men Cross accused of assisting him in carrying out the three murders produced evidence at one of the accused killer's trial that their client was stuck in a blizzard in Kansas at the time of the killings. Murder charges against the second man Cross was scheduled to testify against were later dropped. Another case the feds tried in Arkansas that relied upon Cross as a key witness similarly unraveled due to his lack of credibility, leading to the acquittal of the accused.

Some wonder if Cross had been properly sentenced in the 1987 triple homicide case whether he would have even been on the streets to kill again. After leaving the federal witness protection program, Cross soon went back to his racist ways, promoting his racist views on the Internet and even running for public office in Missouri. At one point, he even wrote a book about his work as a Klansman.

UPDATE: Some Klansman Cross turned out to be. It seems that before he was turned by the FBI to become a paid informant he had a prostitution arrest for soliciting sex from a black male prostitute. From the Daily Mail:
Miller said that he purposefully 'lured' the male prostitute who was dressed as a woman to the spot where they were caught because he planned on attacking the prostitute. The situation did not fit that description when police arrived, however.
Mr McCullough said that the details of the arrest are 'rather salacious. I think the facts speak for themselves and people can draw their own conclusions about how incongruous that is.'
The prostitution case was folded into the host of other charges lined up against Miller who became the subject of a nation-wide manhunt after he started sending out racist and anarchist literature, calling for an uprising.

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