Ex-Officers Fight Police Abuse

Former Police Officer Leads Team of Ex-Cops Who Investigate Claims of Police Misconduct

Police badgeAllen E. Smith, a former police officer in Fort Lauderdale, now leads an elite team of investigators, most of them former law enforcement officers, who use their experience and knowledge to determine whether police have violated the rights of criminal defendants. Since 1997, Smith has worked for the Broward County Public Defender’s Office. He now supervises nine former cops and two other investigators, who focus their work on allegations of abuse or misconduct by police officers or prosecutors.

Smith, who used to specialize working undercover as a hit man, says that over the years, he has seen ample evidence of substandard police work, as well as racial profiling. He has also learned that some of the people they assume are guilty are actually innocent.

An extremely popular and respected officer while he was on the force, Smith has since had his membership to the Fraternal Order of Police revoked. He has had his picture posted on a police bulletin board with a target on it, and was victimized by a Fort Lauderdale detective who went into a state database to obtain personal information about him. He’s also had former police officers accuse him of “going over to the other side.”

Smith now leads a team with wide-ranging experience within law enforcement, including a former homicide detective, a white-collar crime expert and an undercover narcotics officer. He also has an investigator who served on Fort Lauderdale’s Tech Services Squad, who has extensive knowledge of cameras and communications gear.

Smith says that most cases contain no surprises—many people are guilty. But far too often, his investigators have found evidence of duress or threats of violence, including a situation where a man confessed to a crime he didn’t commit because police had threatened to leave his mother homeless if he did not.

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