Exposed: Undercover Agents at Occupy Austin Entrapped Protesters, Endangered Activists
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Given the need to justify this type of funding at a time when all levels of government are strapped for cash, undercover officers are often under intense pressure to produce intel that leads to activists’ arrests for things like thwarted terrorist attacks or actions that damage property. But during nonviolent movements when these plots never surface, the officers often take it upon themselves to instigate and facilitate these plans.
But what the APD produced as a result of its work was an action that put the protesters’ own bodies in danger.
“[Using lock boxes] puts the activist at the total mercy of the police, of cars and trucks on the street, even pedestrians passing by,” Potter said. “To put activists in this position solely for the purpose of demonizing them and acting like they're going to do something dangerous is outrageous.”
But as detectives and their superiors in the Austin police department justified their salaries, they sent a chilling threat to activists all around the country that not only will law enforcement target individuals and try to instigate violent or destructive actions, they will also rope people into nonviolent direct actions and then push hard for the highest charges possible, whatever they may be.
"Government efforts to criminalize this movement by entrapping young people into high-risk tactics, and in this case clearly nonviolent tactics, is outrageous and unjustifiable, said Lisa Fithian, a long-time activist and nonviolent direct action trainer.
“This is a new stage in the war on dissent."