May 15th, 2009
08:59 PM ET

Evening Buzz: 'Stop Snitchin' On Trial

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Happy Friday, everyone!  We have an update on the dangerous street code known as "stop snitchin'", where witnesses to crimes keep silent rather than testify in court. The "stop snitchin'" message is spread in DVDs, clothes and in hip-hop music.

Tonight, we take you to Baltimore where prosecutors say a man was murdered for trying to tell the truth.

Carl Lackl, 38, came face to face with a gunman fleeing a murder scene. He agreed to talk in court. But then, in July 2007, outside his house with his baby girl and 11 year old niece, a teenager drove by in a car and opened fire on Lackl, killing him in front of the children.

Investigators say Lackl's murder was a hit ordered from city jail, by the man he was going to testify against.

"Carl Lackl was a hero who deserves to be remembered," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a news release. "He knelt to comfort a dying man, he called police to report a murder, and he stepped forward to protect other citizens from a violent armed criminal."

So, what happened to the hit man?

Don't miss Joe Johns' report on this case tonight on AC360°.  We'll also talk about what steps can be done to protect witnesses to crimes.

If you witnessed a crime would you be afraid to testify in court? Share your thoughts below.

Tonight, you'll also meet a daredevil kayaker who wasn't afraid to free fall down a 186-foot long waterfall to set a new world record. It's must-see video. Don't miss it.

Go ahead and grab that Friday night snack and get comfy on the couch.

AC360° is coming your way starting at 10pm ET.

See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Lampe

    What I find interesting is this. When someone is killed, their family members expect the Police to find and put away the murderer, yet, they won't help the Police. And, another thing when a young person someone who is 14-16 years old are out on the streets at 3 or 4 am, what are their parents doing? A child that age has no business being on the streets at that time, and you can't tell me that they are not doing anything wrong.

    May 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Ash Nehra

    I wrote a comment about your story and I guess only supporters for snitching comments are allowed here. As a lifelong democrat who was arrested twice for domestic violence for phone calls to my ex due to abusive use of restraining orders, I learned what the police are really all about. I don't blame only the police but the laws that arrest people to extort people of their hard earned money with crazy laws that are set up for the profit of lawyers and corrections. I will say it again, the guy in jail got a cell phone to call in a hit due to CORRUPT CORRECTIONS. Corrections got that guy killed as much as the scumbag criminal. Gangs control the prisons and correction staff that want to DO THE RIGHT THING are weeded out because they can and will get killed trying to do right. Now you want people to get themselves killed for a corrupt system. The same cop that abuse them are going to protect them from criminals who KILL WITHOUT A THOUGHT. Please save your do-gooder ideas for fairy tales, it is dangerous enough to live in these urban areas. I dare you to post my comments, or is Anderson Copper staff part of the thought police. Or is anyone caught in the system is not entitled to a opinion just like not being entitled to vote. If so then YOUR PROGRAM IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    May 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  3. victor


    May 16, 2009 at 2:09 am |
  4. victor

    I would'nt talk to law enforcement. The " stop snitching ' code is good for the individual because when you do talk to law enforcement...the 1st thing they ask is...what is you involvement in all this? When they can't get the answers they seek, you become the suspect. Let the police do there own work. Looking for lost children and confused adults and arresting drivers for driving under the influence should be the extent of there work. I really don't see much use for them for anything else. If I got a problem, I'll take care of it. Just like old wild wild west.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:07 am |
  5. Ruth

    Really bad situation: if you snitch your dead, if you don't your soul is stained. Better witness protection is needed and a movement needs to start against stop snitchin’.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  6. J.V.Hodgson

    In America, would I be afraid ( more importantly want) to testify ?Answer NO.
    WHY? Because of current American gun laws, which were envisaged for an era totally different to todays world.
    The selling and licensing of guns should be difficult, time consuming, and tightly regulated, maybe even keeping national ballistic records of all licensed guns and owners addresses. If you lose it ( report when and where) or worse still "give it away" report it with legislated documents and if its used in a crime ( without you having reported it) you are guilty of aiding and abetting a crime.
    Transporting a gun accross state Lines without a permit is illegal.
    As before ( other blogs), this does not abrogate the constitutional right ( although strict limitation on numbers and type ( self defence,hunting,military use only) is necessary.
    The NRA's arguments are semantic and unrealistic.Things have changed from the wild west days of old. Time to move on and define laws in accord with todays society. No need for constitutional change.

    May 16, 2009 at 12:56 am |
  7. Don Wally

    No I wouldn't testify, I would mind my own business. I don't want any problems with the gangsters in my area. Why does somebody need to snitch if you have investigators, find clues and investigate. I would not risk my life for police that don't care about me.

    May 16, 2009 at 12:44 am |
  8. Loretta Koon

    After working eight years at a level 4 maximum security prison in Californian( as a teacher), I have heard it all. If I were to witness a murder I would definitely want to come forward to testify. But, I do know for a fact my life would probably be in for a huge, ugly , violent, change. First of all, no one wants to be snitched on. If they have people on the street they will contact you and try to "convince" you to be quiet. Or, they will threaten your wife/husband, your children and if that doesn't work they will just take care of you themselves. In this case it doesn't matter if you are with your family or not. What ever it takes at any cost. Silence, is deadly. So if you are thinking about testifying in court you may have to consider changing your whole life, with witness protection. They will, and can, track you down. Remember these guys are motivated. But even with the threats we have to stand up to these THUGS!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  9. Todd

    If I was at a bus stop and somebody got shot in front of me I would be the one to take out the thug myself. People that just stand there and do nothing are WEAK and COWARDS and I have no respect for them.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  10. Stan

    The Killing of a Person just doing the right thing: When a thug from prision can have a witnessed Killed, we must all say how in the hell can this happen. Well, first of all Correctional Officers are bringing Cel Phones into the prision and selling them to Inmates for sometimes $ 1,000 and nothing is being done it! Like I said, all persons working in a prision should be searched when coming to work, regardless who you are. The only way drugs get into prisions and Cel- phones is by persons bringing the drugs and Cel-phones in period. Are the State Officals really that stupid!!!!!!

    May 15, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  11. E.J.

    Mr. Cooper

    I live in Maryland. My father owns a small store in east Baltimore. It's not only the criminals themselves that punish those that "snitch". It is unfortunately the law themselves. My father called the police a few times to report drug solicitation around and inside his store. I was taken aback when the policeman was asked by the suspect who called him and the cop finger pointed my father. Where is the sense in that? Isn't there supposed to be some kind of discretion that should keep the innocent safe. By "ratting" out the one who asked for help, the police has depleted what faith I had in the law enforcement and worse, they put my family in danger. My father's car has been vandalized twice since then. I worry everyday, praying he comes home from work safe and sound. It's a shame that we end up having to be afraid of the criminals but also the police as well.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  12. del pauley

    About that yellow lab dog who was hit by a car and was laying in the road with a broken leg while her son (a lab/shepherd mix?) tried to defend her - my very first thought is: What kind of irresponsible owner is letting the dogs roam and get endangered like this???

    May 15, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  13. Spergeon Thompson Jr

    The courts should move to have blind trials. That would be were the defendant is brought into the court and placed behind a one way mirror and can not see the person testifying against them. Of course measures would have to take place to ensure others in the court room, some who may be sympathetic to the defendant from seeing the person testifying. There has to be a way to ensure safety for everyone.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  14. Bojo10

    I would testify. When are we going to start treating Gang Members like Terrorist. Their leaches, They hurt their own community.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:34 pm |
  15. Mike

    Carl Lackl was a White man, not a member of the black "community." He was unfortunate, or foolish, enough to inhabit an urban jungle - with a child, no less - and found himself subject to the laws of said jungle.

    May 15, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  16. Z

    In response to..... Teresa, OH

    Blacks did not invent the do not snitch rule....Have you forgotten about the MOB? What about all of the Police that don't snitch on each other? What about all of the KKK members that didn't snitch on each other?

    Wrong is wong, but it makes no sense to make it a race thing. Its a people thing, and as a people we need to get better and do better

    May 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  17. Z

    Let me first start out by saying that there is never a good reason not to bring a crime to the attention of the police. But here is a little insite on why the mentality is don't snitch in these rough urban communities...

    As a product of an Urban communitiy and from a very rough neighborhood. The police in those areas are often times very corrupt, so you grow up not trusting the police and even hating them. I've had the police bully me and take my money as a kid and I was completely innocent of any wrong doing. There was also several situations where the police failed to do there jobs. I watched my friend get shot and killed and the police showed up 30 mins later. My next door neighbor had a gun on his wife and kids and the police never showed up. So if you are from this enviornment, you grow up thinking that its you against the police. This is where the mentality comes from. You kindof feel like why would I help them when they don't help me.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  18. Chana Masala

    Have you ever noticed how cops stonewall and cover up for other cops misdeeds? That is also a stop snitchin' campaign.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  19. Patrick

    The accussed has the right to confront the accuser in our legal system. This right somehow trumps the right to peaceful enjoyment, life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. It's interesting that the legal profession has perverted the constitution by tilting tht system to the advantage of criminals. It's not a matter of money to spend on more security. It should be about witness rights to protection from identity disclosure by unethical defense attorneys.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  20. Sea

    I agree that witnesses need to be protected. It is ridiculous that witnesses to crimes, who have the courage to come forward, are not safeguarded.

    I disagree with the implication that African-Americans have their own policies. This "stop snitching" is not only in the black community. Italian mobsters have killed people who would testify against them. And so have other groups of people. They may not have worn stop snitching t-shirts, or said the phrase, but persons in those communities weren't running to police officers to report crimes either.

    We are taught as children to do the right thing, but we are also taught that no one likes a tattle tale. It is not fair or just to limit the notion of not speaking up about violent crimes, particularly at the risk of your or your families safety and well-being specifically to the African-American communtiy.

    Police in some areas to take longer to respond to emergency calls in African-American communities and in some instances are quicker to blame and accuse than to help solve the problem. If a person sees a police officer take 30 minutes to arrive to a crime scene, that leaves the impression that the police are not really concerned about the people involved.

    Before we make assumptions about others and their situations, we should ask them their perspective. My reality is based on what I witness and am a part of, your reality is based on what you witnees and are a part of. It is only when we can see through the eyes of others that we can understand where they are coming from.

    Learning does not only come from books, it comes from relationships.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  21. Jason

    I think it's a BIG CROCK! NO ISSUES. I WOULD TESTIFY! It's a unique solution to assist thugs not wanting to be caught! I think it's a sad day when the BAD GUYS use music, rapping, video and TEENAGERS, that have a hard enough time seeing their future, to promote their "Stop Snitching" CRAP! It's a way to keep one's own people silent while raping, robbing, drug dealing and murdering them! It's a vicious cycle made worse every time there are bad, overworked and underpaid police officers that are on THEIR payroll or make a human mistake. Get a SET and stand up for your neighborhoods and your fellow human beings, not these scumbags that make EVERYONE'S lives worse. BUILD MORE JAILS and lock 'em up! Better yet, train yourself well and buy a gun! THE BAD GUYS aren't scared of police, they ARE scared of YOU and ME packing our own weapons.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  22. Frank from Tucson

    This thing you've got about 'snitches' is called self preservation. It's not a matter of telling, it's also a matter of the reality that when you put yourself out there, the police, nor anyone else, is going to cover your safety. And if anyone on your panel is stupid enough to believe that there is safety for you, you need to grow up with me in South Central. The police are less than help. They get you to come forward; leave you hanging, if they don't attempt to arrest you for the crime; and then are so sorry when you don't live to get to trial. No protection. You people sit in your safety and wish to judge the rest of us. Such hypocrisy!

    May 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  23. Swift

    Some people especially in phoenix loose their children for snitching. Why do you think Phnx is the kidnapping capital of the world. It's sad that families become endangered, but with the patriot act, who needs an informant with all the envasions of privacy that is enabled by the patriot act?

    May 15, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  24. Joanna

    A very sad deal to say the least – these people need to have protective services – good question – why isn't something being done to protect them? Maybe these ghetto people aren't worth the time and money? Not my thoughts – just wondering about the system.

    May 15, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  25. kia

    Do we think that the stop snitchin' phenom was made up for fun? No, it was made up to stay alive, when are we going to stop living in denail about the things that go on in this country? And when are we going to aknowledge the multiple levels of corruption, abuse and deciet that the pepole who 'don't snitch' experience & why they don't trust that they can report the cerimes they witness.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  26. steven collins

    That is the problem with America today to many people would compromise their morals because of the risk of their actions.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  27. Miriamwknc

    If I am not going to be proteced by the law, then I am not going to testify.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  28. Teresa, OH

    It's a bad situation: dead if you snitch, dead inside if you dont.

    Something I dont understand is this: Why are the witnesses names and identities revealed to all ? Why cant a witness be protected in name? If Carl had some protection he would be alive today.

    I say this alot and you guys dont like to post it: blacks have their own policies and alot of people end up dying.

    Black communities want it both ways: they are outraged that the police wont help fight crime. Then they complain cuz cops are out to get them and they wont snitch. I dont know where the balance is and following ones heart, like Carl, is deadly for the innocent.

    May 15, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  29. Annie Kate

    Would I testify or not? I don't know. I would hope I would but in the end it would really turn on how safe the law could make things for myself and my family – especially my family.

    I'm looking forward to the guy and the waterfall. That ought to be something to be seen.....what people won't do to get in the record books!

    May 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm |