"In the United States, Red Squads were police intelligence units that specialized in infiltrating, conducting counter-measures and gathering intelligence on political and social groups during the 20th century. Dating as far back as the Haymarket Riot in 1886, Red Squads became common in larger cities such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles during the First Red Scare of the 1920s. They were set up as specialized units of city police departments, as a weapon against labor unions, communists, anarchists, and other dissidents." (wikipedia 8/13/2012)

Phoenix Police Planning and Community Relations Bureau "Community Response Squad"

Phoenix Police Planning and Community Relations Bureau "Community Response Squad"
DO NOT LET THE SMILES FOOL YOU: Top Row Lt. Bryan Coley, Det. Rick Tamburo, Det. Dottie Conroy, Det. Al Ramirez, Det. Rick Flum, Det. Tony Davis Bottom Row Det. Jeff Wood, Sgt. Mark Schweikert, Det. Jerry Oliver, Det. Chris Wilson, Det. Chris Abril

Resisting the PHX Police Red Squad

AUGUST 13, 2012: This blog is to document the struggle of Arizona's radical activists against the tactics of the Phoenix Police Planning and Community Relations Bureau Community Response Squad, AKA The Red Squad. It's being launched in the wake of a grave violation by a Red Squad detective, Chris Wilson, who was arrested last week for multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct with 2 minors. His victims, apparently, were young activists whom he had befriended in the course of his work as the Phoenix Police liason to the GLBTQ community. He confessed when confronted and sits in jail awaiting prosecution.

This post from another blog describes the concerns some community activists had with our Red Squad long before Detective Wilson's transgressions. It provides a starting point for those unfamiliar with protest policing in the city of Phoenix. The body of this blog will be a critical analysis of Red Squad tactics as they've affected our liberation movements - as well as individual activists - and a diary of our resistance. More than just resisting, we're fighting back.

PHX Red Squad busting Occupy "campers"

Lessons in resistance: Come armed with your video cameras, folks, to every protest our community has and film the Red Squad in action. Call them on their BS and send the link or embed code to us to post. Lets teach each other how best to deal with them from experience...

PHX PD Red Squad's Chris Wilson tackling CODE PINK LIZ...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A brief pre-history of the Phoenix Red Squad.

This contribution comes from an old Phoenix-area radical...

-------------------from MB---------------

I would like to write this to get the ball rolling on other more in depth accounts but it is important to note there was a time before now when dealing with the Red Squad was for lack of a better term, light-hearted. In the late 90's and early 2000's when radicalism in Phoenix began to slowly re-emerge from a mostly long dormant sleep, demonstrations and actions began to pick up steam. The vast majority of this beginning was spent with Red Squad Detective Al Ramirez. Al, would show up to all sorts of events from picnics to protests. This is a personal account and others might differ but from my stance Al was the old school cop that felt his job was to be an actual liason with “communities” from the Phoenix Police Department. Sometimes, events that were designed to be more confrontational or larger in scope Al would be absent from. There were other Cops on the squad at the time but generally, we dealt with Al. Or rather, Al dealt with us.

The name red squad, was tongue in cheek, at least for me, I never got the feeling in 2001 that we were all about to be deported to Russia. There were some interesting moments looking back on it when I really started to notice things change. Twelve years on having worked in the corporate world, 2001 and 2002 should have felt like that moment when a client says “oh, we would like you to meet our new director.” This generally, is always a bad sign. This was around the time when JTTF's were proliferating throughout the country, the feds had completely switched their focus to anarchists prior to September 2001 and local police were being trained by departments that had been dealing with radicals for years. I remember being at a protest around this time, I honestly don't remember if I overheard it or if someone pointed it out but a new lady from the FBI had showed up, with the red squad.

Things began to change slowly at this point and really for me, ended with a big moment for “activism” in Phoenix Arizona. We started hearing a little less from the red squad at this point and more from columns of police at demonstrations and city lawyers showing up at our meetings. You could say that it was the post September 2001 way to deal with dissent, but I don't think for a second without planes flying into buildings it would have been different. The thing was, they were not quite ready to use tactics they had developed in the drug war on radicals. But you can be sure, that is what they were going for. It was around this time we found out that police departments local and national were classifying radicals as a gang.

We still had a bit of ways to go, in 2003 after one of the largest actions led by radicals in the history of Phoenix we set our sights on International Womens Day. We were determined to have a big march with a celabratory feel led by anarchist women. The one thing that many of us knew: the police had been threatening mainstreem groups saying “what happened on February 15th would not be tolerated.” This was in reference to 3000+ people completely tying up traffic in Downtown Phoenix for hours, and hours. Many of the organizers knew that an all out confrontation with PPD at International Womens Day was not the right step, what we failed to take into account was the simple fact that: the PPD were determined to have a confrontation.

The tension was in the air, 800+ people showed up to the demonstration, there was a festive tone amongst the majority of the participants. There was little to no police involvement for the majority of the march. As we entered the Phoenix Arts District, out of nowhere police officers on horseback attacked, with a column of cops backing them up. Many arrests and injuries were recorded. But most telling, as the police horses advanced, there was Al, clearly confused and frustrated as to what just transpired. What happened was at least at my vantage point, clearly out of his hands. For me, that was the end of the beginning and what would signal years later a complete shift in how demonstrations were managed and who was managing them. If you told me that Al's group in 2000 would be able to thwart, trick and manage something like Occupy into oblivion, I would have laughed. Not only was that not their job, but the Red Squad didn't have those sorts of folks. Maybe it is just my personal experience, but it is very hard for me to imagine the red squad of the past being impressed with the red squad a decade on. And that's not to say that I desire either, it is just my reflection, out of principle. \\

- MB

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