Saturday, September 1, 2012

APD: Officers infiltrated Occupy movement


In December, Occupy protesters, some of which were from Austin, blocked the entrance of a Houston port.

A group of protestors were charged with a felony because they linked their arms with a device called a "lockbox". They claim Austin Police helped them make it and now they want charges to be dropped.

Dave Cortez, an Austin Occupier claims he had interaction with one of the undercover officers.

"Supplying and encouraging these folks in Houston to be more aggressive with their actions," said Cortez. "This man would attend our meetings pull me aside and say we need to do more aggressive actions which he encourage the folks to do in Houston."

Austin Police confirmed Friday undercover officers infiltrated the group to gain intelligence about plans of breaking the law.

"Based on concerns from citizens in the movement and actual criminal activity taking place in downtown and city hall plaza it was determined plain clothes officers blending in with the surroundings was necessary in the safety of participants and the community," said Austin PD Assistant Chief Sean Mannix.

Maninx says one of their detectives testified in Harris County Court.

The Assistant Police Chief walked out afterwards dodging reporter questions saying there is no internal investigation. He says because of the nature of the ongoing criminal trial in Harris County he can not make any further comment.

"If it's true I'd expect city council to hold everyone of those officers and the police chief accountable," said Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project. "These are the people who are supposed to be applying the law and upholding the law."

He says if the allegations are true, APD went too far.

"It's perfectly fine to infiltrate and watch but when you cross the line and enable a crime and become part of a crime you're called a provocateur," said Harrington.

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