Police informants fear for their safety

Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 18:39:44-04

People claiming to be police informants spoke to WPTV under the condition of anonymity, explaining their fear after West Palm Beach released secret police documents for anyone to see.

"The City of West Palm Beach has no idea the emotional damage they've caused to people like myself," one informant said.

Some of the undercover informants say they first found out that the confidential emails were released from Facebook. They say their names were not specifically mentioned in the emails.

One says he was contacted by his police source on Wednesday to go over additional safety protocols because of the confidential emails going public.

"I think the city has not handled this appropriately at all," one informant said.

Last week, the city's spokesman Elliott Cohen responded to a Contact 5 Investigators' public records request for city emails. On Tuesday, he said while posting them online, he unknowingly released classified police officer information.

Mayor Jeri Muoio has stood by her spokesman, not blaming him, but instead blaming the process.

"I think the mayor needs to step down. Elliot needs to step down. And it should be done immediately," one informant said.

Both informants WPTV interviewed say their police contacts have ensured their identity was not compromised. They were clear not to blame police, but instead the city.

"I think anonymity in this world is key. And I think the city is about to destroy that," one informant said.

If city leaders don't take action, there is fear some informants may stop working because they are concerned confidential emails could again become public.

"I think the mayor needs to step down and I think Elliot needs to step down. It should be done immediately," one informant said.

Both the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and West Palm Beach Police said they cannot comment because all information involving informants is top secret.