Entrapped

Hollywood police used a Bahamian Casanova to set up Valarie Curry

"Egregious isn't a word you see very often in these rulings," says Bruce Rogow, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. "When the police use someone like this, they're operating at a risk. They have a very serious responsibility, when using a paid informant, to ensure the highest ethical standards. People who are willing to be paid informants are looking to please their masters. Sometimes, they run amok."

Since being released from prison on September 1, Curry has been attending counseling, slowly transitioning back to freedom. Pearle Vision hired her back. She now works in customer service at the Galleria Mall location and has applied to renew her optometric certification.

What she now wants from the city of Hollywood is clear: money. In December 2004, her attorneys, R. Brent Curd Jr. and Craig S. Esquenazi, notified the city of their intent to sue. Detective Murray's failure to properly vet Mackey as a legitimate confidential informant makes the city liable for damages, the attorneys allege.

Curry's case is reminiscent of one of the worst incidents of misconduct in the Hollywood Police Department's history. On January 31, 1996, officers arrested 19-year-old Hollywood resident Dwight Edman after he and a friend left the Ventura Motel at 720 N. Federal Hwy. to buy pizza. Police alleged that Edman sold a rock of crack cocaine to Lt. Jeffrey Marano. Edman alleged that he was strip-searched and that interrogators squeezed pressure points behind his ears. Later, Marano admitted in a deposition that Edman never had anything to do with a crack deal. Edman won a $750,000 federal jury award on December 16, 1998.

Curry is hoping for the same.

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