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Officers Disciplined For Informant’s Death

September 26th, 2008 by flanews

An investigation into the death of a recent FSU graduate turned confidential informant has cost a Tallahassee police officer his job. Rachel Hoffman was killed in May after police asked her to go undercover to bust drug dealers. A day after a critical report blamed police, Whitney Ray tells us Tallahassee Police are say they are taking steps to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.

The internal review sheds light on deadly mistakes made by Tallahassee Police sworn to protect confidential informant Rachel Hoffman. The 23 year-old FSU student was killed during what was supposed to be a controlled sting operation.

“The internal affair report identified several areas of defiance. Places were we didn’t follow policies,” said TPD PIO David McCranie.

On May 7th, police sent Rachel to buy drugs and a gun from two men at this park. She left the area, against police orders. Two days later Rachel was found dead. As a result of the investigation four officers were suspended without pay. One was fired.”

The fired officer was Rachel’s main contact. The report says he knew the sting operation was in jeopardy. Rachel had met with the suspects without police supervision prior to the sting and told a friend of the two suspects she was working undercover. Hoffman family Attorney Lance Block says Rachel’s death is the direct result of sloppy police work.

“There’s just so many series of negligent acts. It’s like a string of dominos falling, one negligent act after another,” Block said.

Block said the internal report will pale in gruesome comparison to a report set to be released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement later their year. A judge has sealed that report.

The Attorney General’s Office conducted its own report on the Hoffman case. The AG’s office found more than 30 possible policy violations on the part of Tallahassee police.

Officers May Appeal

The five Tallahassee Police Officers facing disciplinary charges in the Rachel Hoffman case may appeal the charges. The Florida Police Benevolence Association is reviewing the officer’s options. PBA General Council Hal Johnson said the police officers are still waiting on written documentation of their charges.

“These officers have 15 days to file an appeal of their disciplinary actions and that is under consideration right at this time. As I said, we’re waiting to get the written documentation,” said Johnson.

One of the officers was fired as a result of the botched drug sting. Four were suspended without pay.

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