"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...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chris Wilson: Indicted and soon to be buried.





Made it to court for the reading of Chris Wilson's indictment by Judge Brian Rees. He has a public defender, and it looks like he's going to be in Joe Arpiao's "protective" custody (now that's an oxymoron) for the duration; under the Arizona Revised Statutes, the charges involving that 14-year old aren't bailable under any conditions. 

He's going to have a hell of a road from here on out, even if he somehow gets acquitted or the charges are miraculously dropped. Once you're charged with a sex offense against a child in Arizona, your life is pretty much over. Only a few folks I know have managed to fight back, and that's largely because they're actually innocent (like Courtney Bisbee, who's still fighting). The process of prosecution itself destroys human beings, good and bad alike.

Anyway, channel 3 news was there, and I chatted with the reporter from the AZ Republic afterwards - she was expecting Occupy Phoenix to be there. As were the cops, apparently - they had two armed deputies at each set of doors, and at least a couple of detectives circulated around the huge room. No one gave me any grief, though, and I was able to educate some folks in the crowd about the Red Squad before it all got started.

Wilson looked like hell in stripes and cuffs, for what it's worth - not that anyone looks good when being paraded into court from jail, but he was gray and gaunt and probably freezing cold. The courtroom is shiny and new, the seating is extra comfy, the technology is beyond me, and all the criminals are kept in a glass room now instead of in the jury box, but the prisoners all still look cold and beaten down, and they still wear pink underwear under their stripes, lest they forget one must be mocked and repeatedly humiliated until proven guilty in Maricopa County...

Wilson's next hearing will be October 8 at 8:15am in Maricopa County Superior Court. Call the criminal court info desk the day before to confirm time and place (602-506-8575). The case number to reference is CR2012-142112-001. 

As for myself, I don't think I'll be going to his future court dates. My focus now is not on Wilson's suffering - the system will probably punish him pretty harshly. It already is, and it's not something I take pleasure in watching. The problem for us left to deal with is really the continued presence of the Red Squad in our community, not the future of their exiled detective - except to the extent that he is now a prisoner whose rights and humanity I care about.

Stay tuned here for updates on Wilson and send your Red Squad stories as well as thoughts on police alternatives to redsquadresistance@gmail.com.

1 comment:

The Mikester said...

Mixed feelings of sympathy and frustration ... I can't even imagine what Chris is going through emotionally right now and I wonder how the kids are doing as well. This case has all kinds of irony and if it goes to trial the jury will have a hard time listening to the many sides. However with his statements thus far it's hard to imagine and actual "not guilty" plea. Particularly if he only has a public defender. That's surprising to me as well. He will probably take a plea bargain ... Meanwhile the best we can do is work for something positive to come out of this. Abolishing the red squad is a good cause!! It protects the public, and the officers as well from being placed in a position like this. I am wondering if a new LGBTQ-community liaison has been assigned, and also what other citizen-groups have been assigned liaisons as well. Also which groups within the communities they choose to liaison with and how they decide what types of outreach to be done. There is much investigative work to be done!! Maybe we can meet at 1voice for a brainstorming session ... They have free coffee, a lounge area w/ a computer lab, and a reference library... And ready access to many community groups and volunteers.