Adam Louie is a man on a mission.
The 36-year-old Torontonian recently launched a website called Golden Snitches, on which he is posting the names, photos, locations, social media accounts, and alleged crimes of people he has deemed are police informants and criminals themselves.
"They're out there committing heinous crimes and they're being allowed. They're not being stopped, nobody is stopping them," Louie told VICE.
Louie said he believes police informants aka "snitches" are often using their relationships with police to continue to commit crimes in the community, ranging from sexual assault, to drug dealing, to theft.
But legal experts told VICE the website is dangerous and will likely result in someone getting hurt.
To date, Louie has posted more than 30 "snitch biographies"—submitted by himself and members of the public—that contain some very personal details.
One accuses a young man of being a "police informant, which is why he robs people and never has to worry about police arresting him… the police pay him for information regularly." The post goes on to say the man sells fake drugs and is protected by cops. "He only has money to buy crystal methaphemeniss (sic) to inject in his arm … he gave my girlfriend herpes, and Hep C." The post even describes the man's style as "preppy usually wears the same outfit for a couple days in a row."
Another claims a man has "testified so many times its (sic) just a shame" and describes him as a meth/crack addict who "also is gay and dates girls who are too stupid to notice." It says the man has "a ton of self done shitty tattoos." (Louie said he posts people's sexual orientations to "narrow down who they are… If I say the guy's gay then people who are gay should watch out for him.")
A third post alleges a snitch is keeping children "as pets and drug slaves."
The website also lists the badge number of the Toronto police officer it claims is handler of one of the snitches.
Toronto police told VICE they are investigating the website but cannot provide further comment.
Louie said he is committed to only posting the profiles of people who rat out innocent people and "nonviolent" offenders and snitches who are themselves involved in criminal activity. However, he also a section for "whistleblowers" featuring a photo of Edward Snowden.
As for the risk that the person he's outing will be targeted by violence, he said when someone is an informant, "that person they put in jail, there's a good chance that they want them dead." He believes his website is giving so-called snitches a chance to "stop committing illegal activity," leave the city, and start a new life before they end up being killed anyway.
"If you're living your life that way, you're either going to end up dead or in jail."
Louie told VICE years ago he was the victim of a false accusation by someone he believes to be a snitch. VICE also found profiles of him listed on two websites—CheaterLand and BadBoyReport—which accuse him of infidelity, being in relationships with sex workers, and smoking crack; they also claim he has multiple STIs. However, Louie said he didn't start Golden Snitches for revenge. He claimed the people who made posts about him retaliated after he revealed them to be snitches on a defunct Instagram account.
Asked how he knows for sure the people he's outing are narcs, he said "if somebody makes a statement to the police… you can access it. Another way is people's word. You don't just take their word for it, but it's a starting point."
He said he feels 100 percent certain the people he's "exposing" have committed crimes because "I've spoken to the victims myself." However, he said there have been cases where someone has reached out to say they are not a "snitch" and he's ended up removing their profile.
"Most of the time when this happens they end up giving me information on people who informed on them and usually it's the person who posted them," he said.
He claims he has no problem with "regular people" who call 9-1-1 to report crimes—just seasoned informants. He added he's consulted many lawyers who "love the site" but when VICE asked to speak with one, he said "not a lot of lawyers are going to want to publicly attach themselves to the site."
Ottawa-based defense attorney Michael Spratt told VICE that while there are legitimate concerns to be raised about police informants, this kind of public shaming is reckless.
"Websites like Golden Snitches not only violates privacy, but are a receipt for vigilantism."
UBC law professor Benjamin Perrin said members of the public who have information about criminal activities of others should take it straight to the cops.
"Vigilantism is dangerous and wrong. It includes none of the important legal protections for both accusers and the accused," he said. "The internet is rife with examples of people who have been misidentified for having committed all kinds of terrible things."
Perrin said Louie could be opening himself up to lawsuits for defamation or invasion of privacy.
Pedophile-hunting vigilantes, who also shame alleged criminals, have recently found themselves at the centre of lawsuits and other legal issues.
Louie told VICE he wants to expand Golden Snitches to areas outside of Toronto and into the US. Running the website is currently his full time job, he said.
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