The parents of Andrew Sadek — the 20-year-old North Dakota college student who in 2014 was found floating in a river with a bullet in his head and wearing a backpack full of rocks after secretly working as a confidential informant (C.I.) — have announced their intention to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Richland County Sheriff Office and the officer who recruited Andrew, Deputy Sheriff Jason Weber.
The family's attorney, Lance Block, told Reason that the family has asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to step aside from the case, which the family feels has been ignored by law enforcement since Andrew turned up dead. The Sadeks have written to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the FBI, requesting their involvement in solving what they believe to be Andrew's murder, but which they say local authorities have speculated was a suicide.
Sadek, whose tragic story was first covered by Reason TV in 2015 and later cited on the floor of the House by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), was arrested in 2013 after selling $80 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant, then threatened with 40 years in prison unless he agreed to become a confidential informant.
Video footage of Sadek's interrogation shows Weber encouraging the college student to make more "contacts" in the drug trade. Sadek, who had no lawyer representing him, was also ordered to keep his status as a C.I. a secret, including from his parents.
It wasn't until Andrew's body was found on the Minnesota side of the Red River that his parents learned he had been working as a C.I. Since then, the Sadeks say they have been given no indication that any of the law enforcement agencies who had a hand in busting their son and using him as bait for drug dealers were investigating his death as a potential murder.
The wrongful death suit will allege both fraud and negligence, Block explained to Reason. He added that the suit will argue that Sadek was lured into becoming a C.I. with lies, and that once he was put in this obviously dangerous and compromised situation, there was no oversight from the officers he reported to.
Block — who also represented the family of Rachel Hoffman, a Florida college student turned C.I. who was murdered by the drug dealers police had ordered her to buy a gun from — told Reason "of all the cases I've ever looked at, [Sadek's] is the worst case management of a C.I. I've ever seen."
In 2015, the North Dakota Attorney General's office released a report indicating it had no concerns with how law enforcement handled Sadek's case and suggested only minor reforms (if they can even be called that), such as assigning a supervisor to each case and holding a "Pre-Ops briefing."
Block says the Sadek family is "committed to seeing law enforcement held accountable" for its role in the events which led to Andrew's death, and that "they hope this case will inspire the North Dakota legislature to take action and institute reforms or the abolishment" of first-time offenders being used as C.I.s.
Watch Reason TV's original report on Andrew Sadek below.