____________________________________________________________________________________________________The The City of Tallahassee today released the findings of its internal affairs investigation in the wake of the murder of confidential informant Rachel Hoffman.
“In this case we are talking about good police officers who made mistakes but we have to be held accountable,” City Manager Anita Favors said at a noon press conference.
The investigator who set up the undercover drug buy that night was fired and four of his supervisors were suspended for two weeks without pay.
Investigator Ryan Pender was fired after he was found to have violated nine department policies … including allowing the suspects to choose a new location for the drug deal just minutes before the buy, failing to follow Hoffman to Forest Meadows and not making arrangements for anyone else to try to establish sight of her or contact with her.
Captain Chris Connell, LT Taltha White, SGT David Odom and SGT Rod Looney were all cited for violating department policies and were suspended for two weeks without pay. Five complaints were sustained against Connell, three against White, four against Looney and one against Odom.
All but Odom were found to have violated general orders requiring reasonable care. General Order 46 says negligence is synonymous with carelessness and signifies lack of care, caution, attention, diligence or discretion.
Deputy Chief John Proctor was reprimanded as was Chief Dennis Jones.
Family Attorney Lance Block says it is not the Hoffman family’s place to say who should be disciplined, but he says the family is still waiting for a public apology.
“It’s difficult right now for Irv and Margie to hear anything other than ‘We’re sorry for what happened,’ and that has not been forthcoming as of yet. It’s been five months and all the family has heard is that it was their daughter’s fault,” Block said.
The chief stopped short of apologizing to the Hoffman family today, saying he would do so at the appropriate time and place.
The city manager did express her sympathies.
“I would like to take just a moment to express my personal sympathy to the Hoffman family and to the friends of Rachel Hoffman who have lost their loved one. You can be assured that this incident has not been taken lightly in Tallahassee,” Favors said.
The city manager and police chief stressed that changes have been made to 11 TPD policies … including protocols for recruiting and handling confidential informants and policies for handling money.
The internal affairs report found that Hoffman carried 13,000 dollars in cash to the undercover buy, that she was robbed of the entire amount and not all of it has been recovered.
“We cannot change the events of May 7th. We can make the type of changes though within the department to help ensure that our future actions are consistent with our policy,” Chief Jones said.
The report also indicated that Hoffman had told at least one other person that she was a confidential informant, spoke with suspects on the phone against Pender’s instructions, and arranged a deal without consulting Pender first.
Despite that, and Hoffman’s participation in Leon County Drug Court, the report says Pender and the Vice Unit moved forward with using her as a confidential informant and with the May 7th buy.
The Attorney General’s Review found that the Tallahassee Police Department may have violated 32 policies.
Among them, investigators found that TPD used Rachel Hoffman as a confidential informant for ten days before she was documented by a supervisor.
And when all units were sent to Gardner Road to try to find Hoffman, the attorney general’s review states that Investigator Ryan Pender did not have information readily available to identify Hoffman’s car … he said he didn’t have the tag number with him and would have to get it from dispatch.
The City of Tallahassee is releasing parts of an internal affairs investigation into the murder of Rachel Hoffman.
It has been released that Ryan Pender, the TPD investigator who enlisted Rachel Hoffman as a confidential informant, has now been fired.
Four other officers in Pender’s unit will be suspended for two weeks without pay.
Further details as they become available.
Full Release Below:
TPD Press Release:
City Takes Disciplinary Action in TPD Case; Changes Implemented
The City of Tallahassee today released its 199-page Internal Affairs Report into the Hoffman confidential informant case and provided details on the disciplinary action that is being taken within the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD). In addition, the city released a report from the Attorney General’s (AG) Office, which had been requested by City Manager Anita Favors Thompson and Police Chief Dennis Jones. The AG’s report reviewed the policies of the Tallahassee Police Department in regard to this case and TPD’s adherence to the policies.
Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Dekker, the trial judge assigned to the case against Andrea Green and Deneilo Bradshaw in the murder of Rachel Hoffman, signed an order this morning that allowed the city to release the reports, with certain information redacted that could impact the criminal case.
“This city government has a commitment to operating in a manner that is forthright, honest and accountable,” said City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. “When we make mistakes, we not only believe we should be accountable for those mistakes, but we are also charged with putting into place whatever it takes to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future.”
“I want to express my personal and heartfelt sympathy to the Hoffman family and friends who have lost their loved one,” said Thompson. “This incident has not been taken lightly in Tallahassee, not in our community, not in our government and not by our TPD law enforcement personnel who share the grief of this tragedy.”
The Internal Affairs Report includes interviews with 28 individuals and represents months of investigative work. Both the TPD Internal Affairs Report and the AG’s report found that TPD overall had well-established policies, however the policies were not always adhered to at the required level. Violations of policy were found in areas including: confidential information documentation and control, supervision, drug buy/bust operations, officer conduct and use of flash funds.
As a result of the both the Internal Affairs Report and the AG’s report, TPD has made the following changes:
· Revisions to 11 policies.
· The Vice Unit has been moved under the management control of the Criminal Investigation Division, and a new unit commander is in charge of the new Special Investigation Unit.
· A higher level of supervision, as well as regular reviews of policy compliance and operations is being implemented.
· Disciplinary action has been taken by Police Chief Dennis Jones as follows:
o Deputy Chief John Proctor, reprimand
o Captain Chris Connell, two-week suspension without pay
o Lieutenant Taltha White, two-week suspension without pay
o Sergeant David Odom, two-week suspension without pay
o Sergeant Rod Looney, two-week suspension without pay
o Investigator Ryan Pender, employment terminated
· The City Manager has also taken disciplinary action by issuing a reprimand to the police chief to require a more stringent level of supervision from the top down.
· Chief Jones is making reassignments of Connell, White and Odom within the department.
“We have taken the necessary time to conduct a thorough and honest review and asked others to examine our operations,” said Chief Jones. “I promised Ms. Hoffman’s father that when our full report was completed he would be among the first to receive our findings. I’ve contacted the family and provided them with the report, through their attorney.”
“While we cannot change the events of May 7, we can make the type of changes within the department to help ensure our future actions are consistent with policy,” Jones added.
As part of the city’s commitment to provide a detailed account to the community, the Special Investigative Report by TPD (which initiates the internal affairs review), the Internal Affairs Report and both Phase I and Phase II of the AG’s report are available to the public via the city’s website at Talgov.com.
The City Manager and Police Chief released the details from the report at a noon news conference today. The video of that news conference will be played in its entirety on WCOT, Comcast Channel 13, at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. today.