"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

PHX Detective Chris Wilson screws LGBTQ community.

On Tuesday, August 7, Detective Chris Wilson was arrested for ten counts of criminal sexual conduct with minors, relating to his activity with both a 17-year old and a 14-year old victim. He confessed to almost all the allegations made by the youth involved, without an attorney. His crimes are not considered bailable, so in jail he still sits.  This Wednesday, August 15 at 8:30am there will be a preliminary hearing on his case (and presumably custody/release arrangements) in Maricopa County Superior Court, (South Court Tower) 175 West Madison Street,  3rd Floor, Courtroom 3a. We encourage all concerned citizens to attend.

Most Phoenix activists who know Wilson met him in his capacity as either one of the front line detectives with the Red Squad, policing all of our protest activities, or as the official liason from the Phoenix Police Department to the GLBTQ community. He was a frequent visitor to the Occupy canopies and actions this past year, often trying to befriend the most vulnerable and easily influenced activists. Some of the young guys he cultivated relationships with admired him so much that they had serious credibility problems in their own movements. It didn't help that he made them demonstrate their loyalty to him in front of their peers, among other things, by letting them defend him against hecklers at a hard core ALEC protest.

According to the information I have, the two youth who Wilson exploited are seen as activists themselves. The 17 year old, at least, knew Wilson through his role as the police liason to the GLBTQ community. They had several encounters over a period of a few months; the main incident with the 14 year old was just over the 4th of July, though, and he's the one who initially reported the sexual activity.

The Phoenix Police department apparently acted swiftly to interview and arrest Wilson - don't know how they couldn't though, given the circumstances. I mean, he waived his right to remain silent and confessed to just about everything - they HAD to arrest him or go to jail themselves.it's kind of a no-brainer that he's going to be punished to the fullest - he's a gay cop who was just busted doing a three-way with two boys:  trust me, he's going to be the most hated man in Arizona's prisons, if he survives Joe's jail while being prosecuted. Guards will be selling tickets to the guys to get a shot at him, if the DOC gives them a chance. Of course the PHX PD is distancing themselves from him as quickly as possible - I would too, if he was representing me as being trustworthy to the people he was screwing over on the side.

Chris Wilson did more damage to the gay community than to the Phoenix Police Department, though. No matter how disgusted the public may be when something like this happens, our cops will still get their overtime pay to protect and serve us, because the people of this state are ruled by their fears, not their hopes or values. The people will not only buy but they will wholeheatedly promote the line that Wilson's conduct doesn't reflect on the Phoenix Police Department as a whole - and they'll infer from the silence that the real reason he was sexually active with those boys is because he was gay - that it was all about sexual deviance, not the abuse of power.  That's what people tend to think about men who rape women, too.

I contend that Wilson's transgression was about both - and since others will spend plenty of time on the sex aspect, I want to discuss how Wilson showed no respect for boundaries with those youth in part because he's been taught to cross them all the time.

See, our comrades in Seattle and Oakland and New York have been getting raided and beaten since the Occupies took hold last fall. In Phoenix, the cops don't beat us down with their billy clubs or flashlights, though - not at our protests, anyway. They work hardest to befriend activists in order to gather intelligence from us about our social networks and vulnerabilities, key players and potential law enforcement targets, upcoming actions, and so on. We might as well be criminals, the way they see us. If we are at all effective in our activism, in fact, they should think we are a serious threat to the status quo. We appear to pose no such threat here.

The cops have infiltrated us to spread pacifism, paranoia and conflict. They've tied a lot of us up in court all year with bullshit arrests for "camping" when they knew full well those canopies on Chavez Plaza were first amendment props, not actual encampments - and they had the uniformed officers do the dirty work under cover of darkness most of the time, too. But most damaging of all, they've befriended some of us. They'd show up at Occupy smiling the day after our midnight crew was arrested like they didn't even know anyone had been taken away, and make nice with the fresh young activists and privileged white women who are most prone, they think, to fall for their seductions. 

That's largely who defends the humanity of the PHX police against the violence of my speech to this day, still asserting that the people pledged to give their lives defending the status quo are part of the 99%, too...GRR.

C'mon, folks, and get over the math analogy already - we don't all fit that neatly into two classes. What is most important to understand is that the police are not here to serve social justice or liberation movements - the city does not care that much about us having a safe free speech experience (i.e. having police escorts for marches, rallies, etc so we don't get hit by busses). They care about making sure that any fuss we manage to raise is neutralized as quietly and efficiently as possible. That's what the job of the Red Squad is - rendering us useless. That is not the action of an ally.


Anonymous said...

This is not about the gay community this about a sexual predator and his victims he has forever harmed. Believe me Det. Wilson was never much of a cop nor a human being.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder about other police crimes. We're always hearing about valuable objects "disappearing" from evidence rooms after a trial. Or about meth confiscated from dealers being resold. About 1.5 percent of all humans are sociopaths - that includes police, CEOs, and Congressbums. In fact, since to sociopaths are extremely good at manipulating, and drawn to power, that percentage increases for positions of power.