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(from l to r:) 1.The City of Memphis' 2000 Mayoral Election Issue
2.) Famous TV Judge-Judge Joe Brown (click here to go to website)
and Independent Movie Director Michael Tabor
3.) Dr. Sybil Mitchell (click to email); well known activist and upholder of women's rights)
4.) Then, Shelby County Commissioner Shep Wilbun
5.) Memphis Sanitation worker and still sitting Memphis City Council member Joe Brown (click here to go to web page)


The Tennessee Shelby County Clerk's "Sting"

An Editorial from the Publisher,
James Yates Jr.

(CFN-May 2009) - Some of us do not know how law enforcement works or how to identify an undercover informant.

In order for the most recent sting operation to have worked and result in indictments against employees within the Shelby County Clerks office, a few things had to be in place.

1.) Law enforcement always attempts to get taped recordings of illegal transactions.

2.) They also like to follow the trail of marked bills.

3.) Verbal testimony from a credible inside informant coupled with these tactics most times makes for a solid case against targets of a sting or undercover operation.

1st, you need an informant that is willing to be wired to record criminals in the act of accepting cash in exchange for performing illegal activities.

2nd, it would be nice to have marked bills to follow as you snare others that may be apart of the alleged criminal enterprise.

3rd, you grant immunity to the informant for helping you take down someone that has taken bribes because after all, they’re working and cooperating with the authorities.

If these are facts relative to the “sting” executed against the Shelby County Clerks office relating to automobile titles, then you must conclude a few facts from the preliminaries of this case.

1.) At some point Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Holt Ware began working with the authorities to bring down what we now know was a systematic operation of corruption in the County Clerk’s office.

2.) You will not see any charges brought against Councilwoman Ware.

3.) There may be other indictments and arrest after further investigations.

4.) Very few people would want to be on the wrong side of organized crime in a city like Memphis that ranks number 8 on the list of most dangerous cities in the United States to live in.

5.) And you will not see a trial in such a case, the evidence is too damming and only a fool will anger the courts further after having their hand caught in the cookie jar. The indicted parties best take a deal.

6.) Which leads one to ask the question: “Why would anyone not involved in day to day operations of fighting crime want to subject themselves to being apart of a sting operation that puts them out front, no indictments and no arrest, and could possibly endanger their lives and family?

7.) With informants the answer is always the same; to save their own skin because of the dirt that law enforcement already has on them. Informants usually have no choice but to cooperate with authorities.

Of course there are more reasons for willing to be wired to record criminal conversations and transactions, pass around marked bills, and to possibly testify as a witness to put criminals in jail.

I just don’t see politicians lining up to volunteer for such service.

However, I commend anyone that sticks their neck out in the hopes of tearing down the walls of corruption and putting those behind bars that need to be behind bars.

I applaud law enforcement for finding patsies to put up for the world to see with the title “informant” on their foreheads, but it’s just not always the safest thing to do for the informant.

Having worked in and around law enforcement for the last 20 plus years, I can tell you one thing is for sure. Informants usually have short life spans in and out of prison and while inn prison they always need protection. On the outside, it could be even more deadly because criminals are always willing to commit serious bodily injury to a known or perceived informant.

Know anyone that wants this job? I don’t, usually they have no choice.*







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December 25, 2010