The New York Times has a fascinating piece on Alex White, a confidential informant who worked with the Atlanta police. White is infamous for being the “snitch” who “allegedly” purchased crack from a house that actually housed a 92 year old woman executed by the police during a drug raid. Ed Brayton over at Dispatches… has a post up about this article as well. I really don’t have much to say about this right now, have to head to work in a minute, but it is definitely worth reading.
Alex White was at his mother’s house several miles away that evening. She called him downstairs when she heard the news on TV, using a nickname from his childhood (it was the way he first pronounced his own name): “Alo, a bunch of police got shot. Come and see.”
White went in the living room and sat next to her. The reporter said the shootings had taken place on Neal Street. White knew it was in the Bluff, where he bought and sold drugs. Earlier that evening, in fact, the Atlanta narcotics police for whom he worked as a C.I., or confidential informant — a snitch — asked him to go to the Bluff and buy drugs. His car was in the shop, so he had to say no. His mother knew none of this.
Upstairs at his mother’s house, he had already received a call from J. R. Smith, one of the officers from the unit. Smith sounded tense. “Hey, you got to help us out with something,” White told me Smith said. (Smith did not respond to a request for an interview.) White said sure. He tried to be helpful to the police, do what they asked — willingness was one reason he was their most trusted informant for four years running. If White could help cover for them, Smith said, there would be good money in it for him.
“You made a buy today for us,” Smith explained. “Two $25 baggies of crack.”
“I did?” White asked. It took him a moment to register. “O.K. Who did I buy it from?”
“Dude named Sam.” Smith described the imaginary seller, told how Sam had taken his money then walked White to the back of the house and handed him the drugs as Smith and a fellow officer, Arthur Tesler, watched from a car across the street.
“O.K.,” White said. “Where?”
Smith said: “933 Neal Street. I’ll call you later.”
Now in the living room, the TV reporter was saying how a 92-year-old woman had died in the incident, and people were suggesting that the police had shot her. Two and two came together in White’s mind. They did it, he suddenly knew. They messed up. They killed that old lady. Now his heart pounded as the implications became clear. And they want me to cover for them.
I’ll be back after work with some more posts, possibly a new Tales of a Junkie.
Have a great 4th!