MIAMI – The director of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers was sentenced to 14 days in jail Friday on a contempt of court charge.
Richard Masten was sentenced after he refused to turn over all reports pertaining to an anonymous tip.
Masten appeared before Judge Victoria Brennan and said he was not willing to risk allowing a judge to determine whether any tip information should be disclosed.
"The issue is the court asking Crime Stoppers to go back on their promise," Masten told the judge.
Then Masten tore up the tip, stuffed the paper in his mouth and swallowed it.
"I think you're client's very passionate," Brennan told Masten's attorney. "But I think sometimes passion can cloud judgment."
Masten, a former police chief in Miami Shores, has been director of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers since 2008.
"We promised the people that give us information to solve murders, serious violent crimes in this community, that they can call us with an assurance that they will remain anonymous," Masten told Local 10.
A judge stayed the sentence until next week, leaving Masten to digest his fate for a few more days.
"I was afraid that I was going to be taken into custody and (the paper) would be part of the property and there it goes, so I had a little lunch," Masten said, adding that it tasted "pretty dry."