An advocacy group says the Durham Police Department has been paying bonuses to crime informants for help in the conviction of suspects.
Attorneys from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice have obtained police records that they say show nine people were convicted in drug cases where an informant was paid for his testimony.
"From what we know so far," says Ian Mance, an attorney with SCSJ, "this practice has appeared to have been relegated to black or Latino defendants, some of whom were later deported out of the country on account of this illegally purchased testimony or cooperation."
Mance says authorities failed to notify defense lawyers of the arrangements for testimony.
In a written statement, the Durham Police Department denies any unethical or illegal activity. A spokeswoman says the department is reviewing its handling of informants.