"PITTSBURGH — It was not the first time prosecutor Lisa Pellegrini had been enraged by the sight of the T-shirt with the traffic-sign message: STOP SNITCHING. But this guy was about to wear one into court, with matching baseball cap."
"Worse, he was a witness — her witness — and the intended victim in an attempted murder case that had brought him, her and the defendants to court that day last fall."
"This was Rayco 'War' Saunders — ex-con, pro boxer and walking billboard for a street movement that has sparked a coast-to-coast beef involving everyone from professors to rappers."
"Pellegrini, thinking 'witness intimidation,' told Saunders to lose the hat and reverse the shirt. Saunders, crying "First Amendment," refused. He left the courthouse, shirt in place. Case dismissed. 'In almost every one of my homicides, this happens: 'I don't know nothin' about nothin', ' the prosecutor says. 'There is that attitude, 'Don't be a snitch.' And it's condoned by the community.'"
"Omerta, the Mafia's blood oath of silence, has been broken by turncoat after turncoat. But the call to stop snitching — on other folks in the 'hood — is getting louder."
"Is it an attempt by drug dealers and gangsters to intimidate witnesses?"
"Is it a legitimate protest against law enforcers' over-reliance on self-serving criminal informers?"
"Or is it bigger than that?"
It's freakin' retarded is what it is. We're not talking about hiding innocent people from a police state. We're talking about covering up for street thugs and hoodlums – drug dealers, murderers, and the like.