Report: Police went undercover to watch Occupy LA
Saturday, December 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police used nearly a dozen undercover detectives to infiltrate the Occupy LA encampment before this week’s raid to gather information on protesters’ intentions, according to media reports Friday.
None of the officers slept at the camp, but tried to blend in during the weeks leading up to the raid to learn about plans to resist or use weapons against police, a police source told the Los Angeles Times. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.
The undercover work yielded information that some protesters were preparing bamboo spears and other potentially dangerous weapons in advance of an expected eviction by the LAPD, none of which were used, according to City News Service which first reported the story.
Police downplayed the significance of the undercover work since Occupy meetings were public and easily tracked.
LAPD Officer Cleon Joseph declined an Associated Press request for comment on the reports.
Occupy L.A. protester Mario Brito told City News Service he was not surprised by the revelation, but said it was “tantamount to 1950s McCarthyism.”
Meanwhile, the city attorney’s office filed criminal misdemeanor charges Friday against 27 more of the people who were arrested following the police sweep of the camp.
In all, 46 of the 291 people arrested during the raid have been charged with misdemeanor crimes of failure to disperse from an unlawful assembly. Some also were charged with resisting arrest.
The arrests came Wednesday during a pre-dawn raid on City Hall Park, where nearly 500 tents had been erected at the peak of an anti-Wall Street protest, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said.
Fifty-eight posted bail or were released by police, Criminal Division Chief Earl Thomas told City News Service.
An additional 187 protesters were released without bail and without being charged, because they had no prior criminal records.
Bail amounts ranged from $5,000 for most of the defendants to as high as $20,000.
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