Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Prostitution/law enforcement follies
First, a major prostitution bust in San Antonio in 2007 "fizzled amid allegations from some who alleged the FBI interfered with the SAPD probe, and that [the main target Samuel] Flores was protected because he cooperated with the FBI on unrelated investigations," the SA Express-News' Guillermo Contreras reported last week. Mr. Flores "was nabbed [last] week in Austin on an indictment alleging he was dealing methamphetamine in San Antonio. He was denied bond during a hearing in Austin on Thursday, and ordered transferred to San Antonio for trial. "
Wrote Contreras, "The FBI and U.S. attorney's office denied the allegations, but nonetheless, the matter bruised feelings between the FBI and SAPD and resulted in an internal affairs investigation by the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility," the results of which were never released.
Meanwhile, in Dallas vice squad Detective Jose Luis Bedoy has been indicted on federal charges for tipping off a prostitute with whom he was engaged in intimate relations about upcoming Dallas PD stings, giving her tips on how to avoid arrest, Tanya Eiserer at the Dallas News reported. “Authorities allege that the relationship lasted for years and during the entire time Bedoy provided 'law enforcement-sensitive information to her about DPD Vice Unit prostitution raids and other enforcement actions.'”
Both stories hint at larger, big-picture issues. The latter reminds me of a study out of Chicago that found 3% of tricks by prostitutes operating without pimps were "freebies given to police" in exchange for protection. The former reminds us of the pitfalls of police reliance on criminals as confidential informants, who frequently go on to commit as many crimes as they help police solve, but under the de facto protection of law enforcement.
In an era when HBO has turned a legal Nevada brothel into a popular reality TV series, Grits has to wonder whether, when it comes to keeping the "oldest profession" illegal, the juice really is worth the squeeze. Many of the worst negative consequences - including human trafficking, exploitation by pimps, and law enforcement corruption - primarily result from delivering services through a black market.