Tag Archives: crime stoppers

Police Looking for More Info from Tipster RE: Zombicon Shooting

zombicon surveillance

Surveillance Footage from Zombicon

FMPD held a press conference today, and asked a tipster who previously came forward with valuable information to get in contact with them again. They are hoping to get more vital information from a tipster that contacted them around November 11-13. They have followed up on hundreds of different tips, and believe that one of the tipsters may have the information needed to make an arrest.

They are asking anyone who made a tip during that time to contact them tomorrow or next Wednesday, between 9 am and 3 pm at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). They reward for information leading to arrest is no at $36,000. Police stressed that the young man who was shot, Expavious ‘Tyrell’ Taylor was a totally innocent victim.

No Jail for Crime Stoppers Tip Eater

Richard Masten as he eats a piece of paper in court

Richard Masten as he eats a piece of paper in court

Richard Masten was found in contempt of court for refusing to turn over information related to a tip called in to Miami Dade Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers guarantees anonymity to its tipsters, and Masten would not divulge the information and risk the credibility of Crime Stoppers: to the point that he was willing to go to jail. He found out today that he won’t have to go to jail: the judge ordered him to write a memo/report on the legalities of anonymous tips and court orders. Masten says he’ll do it again to protect the integrity of the program. If this tip gets turned over, every defense attorney will try to get the tip info, and Crime Stoppers would be worthless.

I’d like to see his report. I’m curious, as the judge mentioned public records. Now, anything Crime Stoppers emailed to a state agency would be come public record: but the forum for getting that would be through the public agency. For instance, if someone emails me a tip, and I pass part of that along to the police, only the part that I passed along is public record. That’s not to say I couldn’t be compelled to give up the rest of it, but as a private citizen, my records do no become public unless I send them in whole to a public entity. On the other hand, if I were a business that makes a practice of trying to collect anonymous information: I would probably not store records that could later be subpoenaed and destroy that anonymity. That’s why Crime Stoppers uses numbers in lieu of names. I hope they don’t hang on to more identifying info, for the sake of the tipsters.

Update on Crimestoppers Admin Who Ate a Tip in Court

 

Richard Masten as he eats a piece of paper in court

Richard (Dick) Masten

Dade Crime Stoppers administrator Richard Masten said yesterday he has no regrets about being held in contempt for eating tip information that the court had ordered him to turn over. That may change, as Thursday he is slated for sentencing on his contempt charge, and may have to go away to jail.

From CBS Miami: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/03/17/crime-stoppers-director-doesnt-regret-eating-paper-to-protect-tipster/

Crime Stoppers Administrator Jailed for Defying Judge on Tip Info

Richard Masten as he eats a piece of paper in court

Richard Masten as he eats a piece of paper in court

An administrator for Crime Stoppers in Dade County feels so strongly about keeping his tips anonymous, he is willing to go to jail for it. When a judge ordered Richard Masten to turn over a paper containing tip information, he refused, and proceeded to gobble down the paper in court! The judge found him in contempt, and he faces 14 days in jail if he doesn’t comply by Thursday.
The attorney seeking the info represents someone facing a felony drug charge, and is not seeking the identity of the tipster, but some of the related information. Masten believes the identity of the tipster could be determined if he were to give over the info.
There’s a tension here, because for Crime Stoppers to work, they need to be sure to guarantee anonymity; otherwise the tips could dry up. If you watch the First 48, you know how invaluable those tips can be. Conversely, the defendant has Constitutional rights related to her fair trial and search and seizure. She could be facing prison time and her Constitutional protections may legally outweigh the privacy concerns of a private entity, especially one working the law enforcement. The State may want to consider whether this drug prosecution is worth the damage to the Crime Stoppers’ reputation.