Monday, March 24, 2008

The Informant System

It corrupts cops, and increases crime. The informant system needs to be scrapped. There needs to be Civilian Oversight of police.

“Informants”: Willoughby Forged Our Names
[New Haven Independent, Connecticut]

by Melissa Bailey

One woman, a supposed confidential informant in three homicides, told police that a detective forged her signature when filling out receipts for money — money she never got.

The allegation is one of several startling revelations in a series of previously sealed arrest warrants in the case of ex-Detective Clarence Willoughby (pictured).

Willoughby, a 24-year veteran of the force, resigned shortly before turning himself over to police on Feb. 6 on larceny and forgery charges. He is accused of pocketing thousands of dollars in informant money in four incidents spanning from 2003 to 2007; he has pleaded not guilty and retained defense attorney Norm Pattis.

Four affidavits filed in Willoughby’s case, previously sealed, have been opened to public view.

Click here to read the text of one of the affidavits, in which three “informants,” for whom Willoughby signed out informant money, testify they never cooperated and never got paid. (The Independent has redacted informants’ names, which appear in full on the documents.)

The charges cover $5,300 in informant funds spanning four incidents. One was a “shooting spree” in the Hill neighborhood from July 11 to 12, 2004. The three others are homicides: Herbert Fields’s death on Aug. 1, 2006; Robert Bennett’s on Nov. 27, 2006; and Domingo Rodriguez’s on July 12, 2006.

In each of those four incidents, Willoughby signed out informant money to pay one woman, Confidential Informant (CI) 01-02. He signed out over $3,000 for her, but according to the affidavits, she didn’t see a penny.

When internal affairs investigators interviewed the woman, she denied having worked on the cases, and said the signature by her CI number was not hers.

The supposed informant told police “she has lived out of state for the past five years and has not worked for the New Haven Police Department at any point during that time,” investigators wrote.

Other allegations revealed in the affidavits:

• Willoughby said he lied about an informant’s name because he didn’t want Lt. Billy White to know who the informant was. Willoughby later identified the informant, whom investigators interviewed. The informant first told police he was never paid more than $500 of the $1,500 he was supposed to get. Then he changed his story, saying he had been paid.

• Willoughby refers to a female informant as a “he” and to a male informant as a “she” when describing what information informants gave.

• Three of the four police reports make no reference to information obtained by a CI, even though Willoughby signed out informant money in each case.

Willoughby’s troubles are spilling over to state prosecutors, as his credibility is questioned in cases that rest on his work. Click here and here for the two latest examples, as reported by the Register’s Randall Beach.

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Ritt Goldstein testified in front of the Connecticut Legislature regarding Civilian Oversight of Police and soon after fled to Sweden seeking political asylum:


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