Rachel Hoffman: More Collateral Damage


Earlier this year, police in Tallahassee, Florida raided the home of college student Rachel Hoffman, who friends say was a bit of a hippie-ish free spirit, and concede that she shared and sold small amounts of marijuana and MDMA within her social circle. Hoffman was at the time undergoing state-forced drug treatment after police found 20+ grams of marijuana in her car during a traffic stop. The raid turned up another five ounces of marijuana, plus six ecstasy pills and assorted pot-related paraphernalia.

From this, Tallahassee police apparently threatened Hoffman with prison time, then agreed to let her off easy if she'd become a police informant, and set up a deal with her supplier. They never informed Hoffman's attorney or the state prosecutor of the arrangement. They wired Hoffman, and asked her to arrange to purchase 1,500 ecstasy pills, cocaine, and a gun—a deal that would have run well over ten thousand dollars. Hoffman's friends and family have told me that all three purchases would also have been drastically out of character for her. Which means the dealers she was buying from were almost surely on to her.

Tallahassee police found Hoffman's body last week. The first thing they did was call a press conference in which they blamed Hoffman for her own death, stating that the arrangement she made with the police was consistent with department protocol, and that she agreed to meet with the dealers in a different location than the one previously agreed upon.

After public outrage, the city is now walking that back a bit, and has asked Florida's attorney general to look into the Tallahassee Police Department's procedures for dealing with drug informants.

Chalk it up as collateral damage, and add Hoffman's name to that of Isaac Singletary and Anthony Diotaiuto, three deaths of non-violent, non-threatening Floridians in just the last few years, thanks to the drug war.