S4, Episode 3: The Informant (May 16th, 2020)

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The Informant (Full Transcript .docx)

This week we go inside investigative operations in NYPD internal affairs and in the war and drugs to look at the police use of discretion to selectively break laws in order to pursue the bad guys. One former FBI special agent turned political philosopher argues that local and federal law enforcement are the biggest threat to the rule of law in their ongoing use of discretion to secure informant deals, perform sting operations, and otherwise break laws in order to enforce them. Guest voices include Robert Bryan, Luke Hunt, and Nick Taiber

In Slate Plus: Sarah Lustbader talks about the incentive public defenders have to make informant deals, and whether we can justify liking police discretionary actions to break laws in the interest of busting crooked cops and politicians, but despise their use for low-level drug offenses. They conclude with talk about what makes for valid and free contracts between unequal parties, and whether there is a difference between an offer and a threat.

Resources:

Luke Hunt’s The Retrieval of Liberalism in Policing

Robert L Bryan’s C-Case: An Unlikely Journey from Transit Cop to Internal Affairs Bureau Squad Commander

Nick Taiber, City Councilperson. Cedar Falls Iowa.