Timeline: The cost of confidential informants in Bexar County

Necessary Evil: The cost of confidential informants, a KSAT 12 Defenders Investigation, airs Feb. 1 at 9 p.m.

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This story is part of a KSAT 12 Defenders investigation into the use of confidential informants by law enforcement. The one-hour special report airs on KSAT 12 on Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. Find more here.

The use of confidential informants is a tactic often utilized by investigators to produce more arrests.

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Confidential informants often are people who have been arrested or even convicted for crimes of their own, but promise to provide information leading to more valuable arrests in exchange for a reduced sentence.

In a 6-month investigation, the KSAT 12 Defenders have uncovered a tradeoff for that supposed “success:” A dark social cost that includes innocent people going to prison or even losing their lives during police raids.

What’s worse, the general secrecy that’s meant to protect informants has often also hidden police corruption like officers planting evidence, committing perjury and theft, and just plain bad casework.

You’ll learn more about this and other cases in “‘A Necessary Evil’: The Cost of Confidential Informants,” a KSAT Defenders special airing on KSAT 12 on Tuesday, February 1 at 9 p.m.

KSAT 12 Investigative Reporter Tim Gerber reveals a string of wrongful convictions here in Bexar County, confronts those responsible, and also shows you how the problem might be stopped.

Before tuning in, read the timeline below, laying out critical events covered in the Defenders’ investigation.

About the Authors:

David Raziq is the executive producer for the Defenders investigative team.

Dale Keller is senior news photographer at KSAT-12.