Caught in the Drug War crossfire: the tragedy of Rachel Hoffman

By aerozeppelin123 · May 24, 2008 · ·
  1. aerozeppelin123
    Caught in the Drug War crossfire: the tragedy of Rachel Hoffman

    Rachel Hoffman had just graduated from Florida State University, with plans to attend culinary school. As an undergrad, she was popular among her group of friends, many of whom she met through her involvement in FSU’s chapters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

    Like many college students, she shared cannabis/marijuana with her friends, and would often “go in” on larger amounts in order to save money. And that’s how she got busted.

    Rachel was threatened with prison time, then promised a slap on the wrist if she agreed to wear a wire and set up a deal with her suppliers. Tallahassee police gave her $13,000 in cash and told her to purchase 1,500 ecstasy pills, 2 ounces of cocaine, and a handgun. They never informed her attorney, family, or the state prosecutor before they sent Rachel into the lions’ den that day. And nobody had the chance to tell her she was in way over her head.

    After police found Rachel’s body, they held a press conference to blame her for her own death. Among Rachel’s family and friends, sadness quickly turned into outrage and action. Last Wednesday, hundreds of students marched in protest of the role the Tallahassee Police Department played in Rachel’s death. They held signs that read “Who Killed Rachel?” and “No More Drug War” while wearing t-shirts they had gotten from SSDP and other allied organizations at our last international conference. In her memory, Rachel's mother has established the Rachel Morningstar Foundation, the goal of which is to pass a law requiring legal advice to be sought before a civilian can consent to undercover work. Beyond that, it will also work to decriminalize marijuana in Florida.

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  1. umbra1010
    A sad story that will hopefully open peoples eyes.
  2. Heretic.Ape.
    Absolutely tragic.
  3. sterling77
    This stuff is horrible
  4. ihavequestions
    thats insanity. it leaves you kinda speechless realy. i mean if your gonna send in a girl, ALONE, with 13 thousand, and to buy a gun with 1,500 E pills and 2 ounces of coke? i mean thats crazy what did they think was gonna happen? her suppliers clearly must have known right off the bat that a regular pot buyer is out of nowhere gonna buy this outrageous amount of stuff then something is obviousely up.

    this was most definetly some of the most horrible police work i have ever heard of. and it ended is a needless death of a person who wasnt even bad.
  5. Nargyle
    WTF!!!!??? This is really tragic, just to know what kind of things police do in order to continue with this stupid drug war makes me really sad and outraged! Police should, supposedly, keep people safe not put them in dangerous situations where they might get killed like this poor girl!
  6. Lunar Loops
    And then the sickest insult of all to then try and turn around and tell a grieving family that it was all her own fault anyway for first getting involved in drugs.

    Yes, the police have really covered their backs with glory this time.....what is even more galling is that none of them will ever get into any trouble over this when in effect they have been complicit in her murder.
  7. Panthers007
    In the town of Rockland, Massachusetts, back in the 1970's, the kids and young adults had had enough abuse from "their" police.

    First they burned down the police chief's house and the fire chief's house. Then they took to the rooftops with rifles and started sniping police cars. Every last cop quickly left town. It took the National Guard several weeks to restore order. No charges were ever filed. None of the former police ever returned to Rockland. A new, progressive police force was installed. Peace in the valley.

    This is merely a history lesson - not a suggestion. But an organized taxpayer's revolt, on the other hand...
  8. sterling77
    Yea the police blamed the girl on top of it all. The stories on national news weren't accurate either.

    Haha funny aside about Rockland..I lived there for quite awhile back in yonder years on a wharf. Never heard that story though!
  9. Panthers007
    Are you sure you don't mean Rockport?
  10. sterling77
    Wow yes yes I meant Rockport...sorry I'm really tired. I guess that's why I never heard the story! lol
  11. zera
    I found a picture of Officer Donutmuncher McDipshit in action

  12. Nargyle
    The Killing of Rachel Hoffman and the Tragedy That Is Pot Prohibition

    Rachel Hoffman is dead. Rachel Hoffman, like many young adults, occasionally smoked marijuana.

    But Rachel Hoffman is not dead as a result of smoking marijuana; she is dead as a result of marijuana prohibition.

    Under prohibition, Rachel faced up to five years in a Florida prison for possessing a small amount of marijuana. (Under state law, violators face up to a $5,000 fine and five years in prison for possession of more than 20 grams of pot.)

    Under prohibition, the police in Rachel's community viewed the 23-year-old recent college graduate as nothing more than a criminal and threatened her with jail time unless she cooperated with them as an untrained, unsupervised confidential informant. Her assignment: Meet with two men she'd never met and purchase a large quantity of cocaine, ecstasy and a handgun. Rachel rendezvoused with the two men; they shot and killed her.

    Under prohibition, the law enforcement officers responsible for brazenly and arrogantly placing Rachel in harm's way have failed to publicly express any remorse -- because, after all, under prohibition Rachel Hoffman was no longer a human being deserving of such sympathies.

    Speaking on camera to ABC News' "20/20" last week, Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones attempted to justify his department's callous and irresponsible behavior, stating, "My job as a police chief is to find these criminals in our community and to take them off the streets (and) to make the proper arrest."

    But in Rachel Hoffman's case, she was not taken "off the streets," and police made no such arrest -- probably because, deep down, even they know that people like Rachel pose no imminent threat to the public. Instead, the officers on the scene secretly cut a deal with Rachel: They told her that they would not file charges if she agreed to go undercover.

    Rachel became the bait; the Tallahassee police force went trolling for sharks.

    In the weeks preceding Rachel's murder, police told her to remain tight-lipped about their backroom agreement -- and with good reason. The cops' on-the-spot deal with Rachel flagrantly violated Tallahassee Police Department protocol, which mandated that such an arrangement must first gain formal approval from the state prosecutor's office. Knowing that the office would likely not sign off on their deal -- Rachel was already enrolled in a drug court program from a prior pot possession charge, and cooperating with the TPD as a drug informant would be in violation of her probation -- the police simply decided to move forward with their informal arrangement and not tell anybody.

    "(In) hindsight, would it have been a good idea to let the state attorney know? Yes," Jones feebly told "20/20." Damn right it would have been; Rachel Hoffman would still be alive.

    But don't expect Jones or any of the other officers who violated the department's code of conduct -- violations that resulted in the death of another human being -- to face repercussions for their actions. Obeying the rules is merely "a good idea" for those assigned with enforcing them. On the other hand, for people like Rachel, violating those rules can be a death sentence.

    Of course, to those of us who work in marijuana law reform, we witness firsthand every day the adverse consequences wrought by marijuana prohibition -- a policy that has led to the arrest of nearly 10 million young people since 1990. To us, the sad tale of Rachel Hoffman marks neither the beginning nor the end of our ongoing efforts to bring needed "reefer sanity" to America's criminal justice system. It is simply another chapter in the ongoing and tragic saga that is marijuana prohibition.
  13. ~lostgurl~
  14. Spare Chaynge
    Doing a quick search swim was unable to find anything about this rockland riot if swiy can help please put a link.
  15. chillinwill
    here's an update on this situation from

    Associated Press - September 25, 2008 2:44 PM ET
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - An investigator has been fired and four other Tallahassee police officers were suspended without pay for two weeks for their roles in a botched drug sting that led to the death of a young informant.
    Additionally, Police Chief Dennis Jones and his top deputy, John Proctor, received formal reprimands.
    Jones said Thursday that the four suspended officers will be reassigned upon their return to work. He also noted violations of department policy involving drug buy & bust policies as well as the use of cash in such operations.
    A grand jury found police undercover operations negligent in the death of 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman, who was killed in the aborted sting in May. Two people were indicted on first-degree murder charges.
  16. dpayne
    There is also ultimetally a lesson to be learned here aswell to alot of people. The reason swim walked away from the whole scene was kids that when swim was their age hadnt seen let alone started to think about trying were talking and asking for prices on large quantities of substances and swim couldnt stress how serious a crime such things are regardess as and how risky such deals can turn out being. Going in on trafficable amounts of substances is not a healthy habbit to get into. Then to accept such a deal and rat on people, the story teaches a few lessons ironically.... Know what your getting urself involved in before its to late and your dead.

    What a country America must be to live in if the police will take a MJ offender and throw em into the lions den of A) Narcotics B) Illegal Guns
    This case is legit or some propaganda/ wet dream? was swims first thoughts then he realised oh thats America gotter be true.
  17. Beeker
    This pissed a lot of people off.

    Even in Texas a 1/4 pound of weed isn't considered a Felony anymore and Texas is a shitty drug law state. Getting caught with 100 pounds in Texas isn't even a year of jail time. It's a Felony drug conviction sure, but not anything worth risking your life over.

    People who hustle know their customers and people don't go from less then a pound of weed and 6 pills of MDMA to 1,500 X tablets, coke ... and a gun?! wtf would she need a gun for?

    IMHO the gun part is what got her killed. A college grad female pot smoker could easily get a friend to buy her a gun in America. She didn't even have a real Felony conviction and could have purchased a gun herself.

    "Up to 4 years in prison" is what they said she was looking at. I was looking at up to 55 years on an 11 count Federal indictment ONE year ago. I did 9 months.
  18. dpayne
    In all aspects of reality it was most definetally the gun part that got her killed, since it was the gun she had requested to purchase under instruction from the officers which was used to murder her as the case reads...

    Why would police want to put a maurijuana dealer into such heavy quantities that most small time narcotics dealers know is high risky and stear clear of such quantities straight up and then introduce a firearm by request into the scenario is ridiculous.

    A complete revamp of the ethics/ rules/ regulations would be underway if this happend in oz as to if informers can ever be used again and then stipulate only of transactions no bigger than X times previous deals and under no circumstances can different sunstance be requested or firearms etc

    Are they testing the character of people willing to get ounce quanties and 1000s of narcotics by looking for firearms?

    How can anyone let alone law enfourcement create a market for blackmarket firearms by even asking for it. Wouldnt a simple if you want I a gun its 500cash be enough and the informer to think about it. Then after the narcotics bust a decision to pursue firearms and more narcs be a much better option if this is the road to be wanderd down.

    Sorry but swiD still doubts the legitemacy even after all the attention....
  19. Beeker
    Adding the firearm into the mix was a "numbers" move.

    In the US the 1,500 pills and coke wouldn't have been enough to put away one person outside a drug conspiracy for more then a decade plus a little change.

    The gun would have added a 10 year mandatory minimum charge plus 10 years for each bullet in the gun.

    Sad thing is - the police got more then they needed to lock the drug dealers up for a long long time. Great police work there!
  20. dpayne
    Far Out!~ to put it nicely....

    Is that each bullet in the gun part a litle bit of a stir or for real?
    US doesnt even have strict gun control in oz they recalled everyones weapons with a mandatory hand in of all automatic firearms.

    BB guns or paintball guns are hard enough to get a permit for....

    SwiD can see the polices eagerness now to effectivelly double such criminals times behind bars but ultimetally it may of well been the first gun any of the three had seen.... Unlikelly but possible
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