The executive director of the Miami Crime Stoppers program, Richard Masten, isn’t kidding when he says you’ll remain anonymous as a tipster.
A tipster is anyone who calls a hotline with any incriminating information that could lead to an arrest. Though a Florida court demanded he bring tip information forward in a current court case, Masten protected the identity of a tipster by shoving the evidence in his mouth and swallowing it. McGruff the Crime Dog would be proud.
Specifically, Masten was asked to provide a Florida court with details incriminating a defendant with cocaine possession. He stands firm that providing the evidence may risk the anonymity of the person who provided the tip that led to the arrest in the first place. Though the attorney for the case insists the name or identity of the tipster is not in jeopardy, Masten is concerned any risk to the tipster’s identity would cause him to lose credibility and have his trust undermined.
“We promise the people who give us information to solve murders, serious violent crimes in this community, that they can call with an assurance that they will remain anonymous and that nothing about them or their information would ever be compromised,” he said. “The case today started creeping into that… it’s not going to happen on my watch and I understood the consequences.”
Judge Victoria Brennan found him in contempt of court for his actions and he will be back in court next week, facing up to two weeks behind bars.
Masten stood firm, stating “I’ll bring a toothbrush and some pajamas…”
In a loosely related story (that Brad covered on the CaNews Podcast in February), John Morales, who played McGruff the Crime Dog was sentenced to 16 years in prison for drug and weapon offences. After being pulled over for speeding in 2011, actual crime dogs sniffed out marijuana seeds in his trunk. A further search of the vehicle turned up maps to two grow-ops where police discovered 1,000 plants and more than two dozen weapons, including a grenade launcher, and 9,000 rounds of ammunition.
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