On Tuesday, May 7, 2013 the NORML Women’s Alliance of Philadelphia is holding a vigil for Rachel Hoffman, who was killed five years ago in a drug sting that went awry.
Rachel was a 23-year-old psychology and criminology student at Florida State University in 2008 when cops found five ounces of pot and a few ecstasy pills at her apartment. The Tallahassee Police pressured her to cooperate. In exchange for leniency regarding her relatively minor possession rap, cops had Rachel do an undercover buy of a gun, two ounces of cocaine, and 15,000 ecstasy pills.
Authorities willfully put her in a situation that was way over her head. The targets of the sting discovered she was wearing a wire, shot her six times in the head and chest, and dumped her body in a ditch. While informants are usually portrayed as “rats,” the lowest of the criminal element, the truth is that often they are people who are naive and scared and thrown into the deep end by law enforcement without any regard for their safety.
“This vigil is for Rachel Hoffman and all those people who have been put in untenable situations as confidential informants,” says organizer and Philly NORML member Diane Fornbacher. “We will also memorialize those whose lives have been lost in SWAT raids, overdoses, and any other collateral damage of the drug war.”
The vigil starts at 7:45 Tuesday evening at the Betsy Ross House (239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA).