Undercover Cops at Occupy Protests

Undercover Cops at Occupy Protests
by Sue Basko

UPDATE November 30, 2011: Last night, Occupy L.A. was raided.  After the camp was closed down, someone took video and stills of about 8 men who were obviously undercover cops from the camp, standing up on City Hall steps and high-fiving it with the uniformed officers.  Some people were surprised that undercover cops had infiltrated their group.  To try to cover the existence of the undercover cops at the camp, one of the ranking officers referred to there being  "about 12 people left in the park, waiting to be arrested," which of course, made no sense.  
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Undercover cops have been spotted at Occupy protests. Of course. 

What They Wear:  A baseball cap (or sometimes a knit cap), hooded sweatshirt, dark pants or old jeans, and often a dark-colored backpack.  I assume there is a radio communication receiver (like a bluetooth) under the hood and pepper spray and handcuffs or zipties in the backpack.

What They Do:  Just kind of walk around or hang around.

What Their Job Is:  To watch and see if anything out of the ordinary is happening.

Should We Mind If They Are There?   No, not really.  It is fun to play Spot the Cop.  Also, it is possible some nut case may come along and try to commit some really violent act at a big protest, and hopefully, one of these undercover cops will see it beforehand and stop it.  There are always undercover cops at any big crowd event; thinking otherwise is naïve.

Cop-Spotting at Occupy:

Occupy LA:  Early on at Occupy LA, an undercover cop was spotted hanging around.  What was he wearing? Baseball cap, dark hooded sweatshirt, jeans.  He was better-looking than the average cop, kind of like Jake Gyllenhaal.  He spooked people because they were not sure if he was a cop, a provocateur, or a nut case about to do something.  Once it was confirmed he was a cop, there was a sense of relief. 

Occupy SF, Occupy Oakland: At Occupy San Francisco, OakfoSho (aka Spencer Mills) from Occupy Oakland was out livestreaming on Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving.  Spencer spotted an undercover cop and asked him, “Are you an undercover cop?” The man answered no, and then said, “I’ve been at this a lot longer than you.” 

Occupy Wall Street, New York: At Occupy Wall Street in New York, a livestreamer (not Tim Pool) asked a man if he was an undercover cop.  The man hit him.  The livestreamer followed the man as he walked away quickly,  trying to escape from the livestreamer and his camera.  The livestreamer followed the man as he walked into several police-only locations and eventually got into a police-only vehicle and was driven away, his cover blown.  This man was slightly too old and chubby to wear  the Undercover Cop uniform, and he had some lumps under his sweatshirt, which could have been a gun or other weapons. 

Occupy Wall Street, New York:  On the day after the OWS campers were kicked out of Zuccotti Park, Tim Pool (theother99, Timcast), the Chicagoan now famous for livestreaming the New York Occupation, was streaming a march to the Goldman Sachs building.  When the protest march arrived at the building, some protesters staged a sit-in.  Tim stood near the curb with a crowd of onlookers.  A man in a dark suit stood next to Tim and elbowed him hard in the ribs.  Tim loudly announced this and asked the man if he was a cop.  Then, another man in the crowd said the man in the suit had elbowed him, too.  The suit man left and joined the cops surrounding the sit-in by the door.  Suit man seemed to be directing some of the police action. Tim called him “a high-ranking police officer.”  I think he was building security for Goldman Sachs.

WHAT'S your cop-spotting story?

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