In Friendswood, Texas, With Limited Choices (Update)

For the moment, the woman’s name is a secret, which is a good thing since revealing it would likely put her in serious jeopardy.  You see, she was turned into a snitch against a drug dealer, and drug dealers sometimes get upset about such things. Not that the Friendswood police care.

It wasn’t that the woman wanted to be a snitch. She was a single mother with no priors and a child at home. It started with a ticket for an illegal lane change, out-of-date registration and no insurance.  She didn’t want to pay the fine.  In some jurisdictions, she could have bought her way out of it by letting an officer “cop a feel” (where did you think that phrase came from?), but Friendswood cops are far too professional for such disgraceful sexual shenanigans. They want busts.

A woman in a small Texas town is alleging that police who pulled her over for a traffic ticket coerced her into making undercover drug buys to avoid paying the traffic fine, and threatened to reveal her role when she tried to back out of the arrangement.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous because she fears retribution from dealers, was pulled over for making an illegal lane change in the town Friendswood on Aug. 22, her attorney Dane Johnson told ABC News.

While most people wouldn’t think this the biggest deal ever, apparently she did.

While being held police offered her a deal: perform three controlled drug buys instead of paying the fines, the lawyer said. Her attorney told ABC News she had never bought drugs before, but agreed to do it to get out of the citations.

“I had two choices. They were either going to arrest me, or I could agree to do some controlled buys,” she told ABC affiliate KTRK.

After texts flew between the woman and the cops, including the chief, instructing her to make a $100 meth buy the next day, without any of the backup or support that normally goes along with a sting, the woman came to the epiphany that she didn’t cut the best deal ever, and so she went to Legal Zoom a lawyer to find out how to undo the deal. 

Several days later, she received a text message from the detective informing her she would need to write a letter to the police if she wanted to withdraw from the deal.

The message also warned her that if they filed charges against the drug dealer she bought from, she would be named in the affidavit as a source, revealing her as the person who “snitched” to the police.

The Chief of Police texted her attorney, telling him that by withdrawing from the deal, she “acknowledges that we may file a charge in the case of the controlled buy that she made and that she could be named in an arrest warrant.”

Snap. She can withdraw, but they’re going to float her name out there for the drug dealer to see. And, well, if some harm comes to her because a meth dealer isn’t thrilled with her deal either, well, not much they can do.  After all, she withdrew from the deal.  Can’t you just hear the chief cackling, “let her lawyer protect her,” and all the detectives give a hearty belly laugh?

This may clearly be just about the worst snitch deal ever cut, which should serve as a reminder of two things: First, talk to a lawyer before you make a deal with the cops. If the opportunity isn’t there, then don’t make the deal.  Second, becoming a snitch isn’t nearly as cool as it looks on TV.

But then, this woman, whoever she is, must have had a real problem with the traffic tickets to compel her to become a drug snitch standing on the side of the road.  Perhaps she was deeply in debt, had children to feed, and the few hundred bucks in fines would have put her out on the street.  She was ripe for the picking by the cops, who smell desperation and, being honorable gentlemen all, had no qualms about exploiting it.

Once she was in, the choices are limited.  It was a huge risk to try to pull out of the deal, as the cops could do exactly what they did.  The fact that they didn’t name the woman in the response to the lawyer is rather surprising, since that was the payback. 

The only impetus to keep her name out of it, and for this one has to credit the toughness of the lawyer for not backing down in the face of threats of harm to his client intended to scare the crap out of him, is that once everything came out, the revelation would have made the Friendswood police look even worse than they do.

While the analogy is often used, and used poorly, to compare the police to the mob, it seems unavoidable this time. The cops exploited this woman’s vulnerability for their own purposes, and then tried to hold onto her by threat of harm.  The best that can be said of the Friendswood cops is that they didn’t force her to
strip naked in the back of patrol car for the amusement of officers. She was only made to strip at the station, where all the women are made to strip, for the amusement of the officers.  They can make up good excuses for that, even though the woman was stopped for the vicious crime of an illegal lane change.

There is no good explanation for why a woman stopped for a traffic ticket should be coerced into playing snitch, even without threat of death at the hands of drug dealers. The police won’t respond to the charges because they’re under investigation. And it doesn’t help that their conduct was about as outrageous, abusive and coercive as they come, leaving them with little good to say anyway, other than welcome to Friendswood, Texas.  Use your blinkers, not your blinders.

Update:  And more friendship from Friendswood via Gizmodo a year ago, as hacked by Anonymous:

Exhibit A, an email from Robert Wieners Chief of Police, Friendswood, Texas Police Department. Subject line? “Stupid Bitch”:

That stupid bitch who started that stolen car chase at Yale and 610 got what she deserved (I’ll bet she was fat and black too). Same with that pervert that got shot by the county. Fuck that guy, see ya. That all sounds like good police work to me. Those folks got the criminal cure. It’s guaranteed, they will never commit a crime again.

Nice, warm and highly professional.  Also via Fritz.

H/T FritzMuffKnuckle

4 comments on “In Friendswood, Texas, With Limited Choices (Update)

  1. Alex Bunin

    Friendswood is split by three counties, including a small piece of Harris. I have a feeling those cops shop this nonsense around to see if a DA will bite. They probably get more help prosecuting uncooperative “informants” in Brazoria County.

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