In 1965, the FBI started working with Boston mobsters. They protected that gang in exchange for those mobsters helping take down another gang. In the meantime, this "good" gang threatened a family, forcing them to sell a liquor store lest the father be murdered. The family went to the FBI ... who promptly tipped off the gang. The family learned that turning to law enforcement was taking their lives into their own hands.
30 years later one gang member was finally convicted and the FBI's involvement was finally made public. In 1999, the family sued, apparently figuring it would finally be safe to come forward. From the post:
This makes perfect sense. If you're confronting a 30-year collaboration between the FBI and powerful mobsters who've sat at your kitchen table with guns and knives drawn, you'd probably be inclined to wait for some judicial acknowledgment of the corruption before filing a lawsuit -- particularly if your previous attempt at official redress nearly got you and your family whacked.
A three judge panel struck down the lawsuit, ruling that the family waited too long to bring the suit.
This reminds me of many years ago when their were a bunch of car break-ins at an apartment complex I lived at. My friend Luis and I stayed up all night for several nights and finally saw who was breaking into cars. Unfortunately, the police did not, stating that the criminal was helping them in another investigation. I should have yelled to the press and told all of his neighbors, but I was young and stupid.
Here's a little tip to the authorities: if you're going to work with bad guys (I know it's unavoidable sometimes), would you please step on their foreheads when you catch them doing bad guy stuff? Really, it's better PR for you later when you're caught.