Prof. Ralph Stein comments on detective turned FBI informant in investigation into civil rights abuses, corruption in a County Sheriff’s office

Prof. Ralph Stein recently spoke to the Florida Times-Union for an in-depth, two-part story about the FBI’s investigation into a Nassau County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office. According to the article, the FBI probe has branched into dual investigations of civil rights violations and corruption, including obstruction of cases, altered police reports and thefts.

Read part 1 and part 2 of the story. (Prof. Stein is quoted in part 2).

The story notes, “A key to the investigations is a Nassau narcotics detective turned FBI informant whom authorities asked to secretly tape more than a dozen meetings with (County Sheriff Tommy) Seagraves and others. Brandon Smith, 31, said he did so often with a recorder stuck in a front pants pocket, sometimes sitting only feet from Seagraves.”

In the second installment of the story, Prof. Stein told the Times Union: “Cops rarely record their bosses in secret, though they occasionally report internal trouble to other agencies.”Stein said a street-level cop usually flips on his superiors for one of two reasons. 

“One is a genuine, almost fanatical commitment to honest law enforcement,” Stein said. “The other is they’re out to hurt somebody because they feel ignored or maltreated.”

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