Do SPD informants get better treatment than other citizens?



Posted on May 31, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Updated Saturday, May 31 at 9:23 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Spokane woman said her neighbor, who she claimed was an informant for local law enforcement, was arrested in a raid and then was back out on the streets in a matter of hours in the Spring of 2014. Neighbors of the man said he was a constant problem. In a 2 On Your Side report, KREM 2 News investigated whether informants were treated better than the average person when they broke the law.

“I believe he is an informant or a snitch working with cops to get the bigger guy,” said a neighbor, who KREM 2 News chose not to identify for her safety.

The woman said she felt extreme relief when the SWAT team raided her neighbor’s home. She said that relief ended about 48 hours later when the neighbor was released from jail.

“To have him come right back is just - ugh. I mean, over the weekend he was minding his 'p's' and 'q's' but then this week [was] right back to it. I'm seeing people come and go and we know what they're doing,” said the woman.

KREM 2 News learned the man’s quick release was likely due to his minimal criminal history. He was not charged with anything as of Friday. Neighbors were convinced that he was an informant.

“We understand that has to happen to get the bigger person but they need to move on. Enough is enough,” said the woman.

Police said they would never comment on who their informants were. They said such information was highly confidential.

“They are not treated any differently. They are arrested and we deal accordingly,” said Teresa Fuller with the Spokane Police Department.

Police said informants could sometimes work off their charges. KREM 2 News asked law enforcement what would happen if an informant committed a crime while working with officers.

“That'd probably be up to the detective and what crime they were arrested for,” said Fuller.

Police said informants were not allowed to speak about being an informant. Police said if they did, they would be asked to stop helping authorities.