"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

The Phoenix Police "Red Squad" Detectives.

June 29, 2011

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

For those of you not quite so familiar with Phoenix and political protest, I wanted to introduce you to the Phoenix Police Protest Detectives from the Red Squad (also know as the Community Response Team).

I found their photo on-line with a memo from the Secret Service thanking them for assuring that everything went smoothly with George Bush's last visit to town (I believe a bunch of people were planning to arrest him for crimes against humanity). Get to know their faces now, so you recognize them casually chatting it up with our less-alert buddies in the street.

These are the folks who are supposed to convince the r
abble that the cops really aren't so bad after all - I mean, look at Al. Everyone loves Al. He just wants us to have a safe protest experience - he's really there to protect our first amendment rights, not inhibit them....right? In fact, he was the first Phoenix Cop to give me the okay to chalk the sidewalks ("just keep it clean, off private property, and on the ground" were the parameters I got).

Thanks for that, Al. I probably wouldn't be facing felony charges for graffiti today if you hadn't nurtured my blossoming artist within when I still thought of you as one of "the good guys"...hmm.

Anyway, this is to remind folks that the real job of every cop - no matter how sweet their smile or gentle their touch when they cuff you - is to maintain order - and that's the same order that has so many people hurting and dying at the bottom with a few living at the top in the luxury they stole from our labor (which we thank them incessantly for the opportunity to provide them at cut rates as we clean their toilets, wipe their asses, and tend their rock gardens...)

That's the order that even the nicest cops maintain for society, and they'll do their duty and haul you off to jail if you disrupt it. A little chalking and chanting from 11am-1pm is okay; channel our energy that way and it helps keep us from launching any meaningful resistance. These guys will almost always police us with a smile (don't be mistaken that that's precisely what they're doing), but that doesn't mean they wouldn't use every other weapon at
their disposal, if they have to. In fact, I think they pull them all out for the Anarchists when the Nazis come to town just to keep their training current.

It's been increasingly my observation that - as a rule of thumb - if you're a community organizer and have a "friendly" relationship with your own Red Squad, it's probably a sign you've been co-opted, and your resistance is only enough to make both you and the cops look like you're doing your jobs. In fact, if that's the relationship, then they're keeping you and your people down more effectively than anyone is rising up. If you're really posing a threat to the status quo, even good old Al will come after you and try to take you out - so be heartened if he ever does. Overt tension with the protest detectives seems to worry some folks across progressive and even some more radical movements, but trust me, hearing an occasional "fuck the police" fly through the air - followed by a canister of tear gas being returned to the owner - is a really good sign of resistance.

In Phoenix, for the most part, the Left is much too friendly with the Red Squad, which is employed in the service of the Right (the so-called "People" here - not the real human beings). The cops define the boundaries of what's acceptable and what's too extreme for good citizen protest, it seems - and most progressive cause protestors are really just trying to be good citizens, in the end (listen to the language they use). The cops show us where free speech is and isn't allowed, and remind us when it gets to be a little too obnoxious. We politely police ourselves, even, so they don't have to.

Here's an example of diminished resistance. One day, Al actually convinced some protesters who had chalked outside the PLEA Union Hall to clean up after themselves when the action was over. They complied. Now, I flipped out when he asked me to do that, frankly. What's the point of screaming the truth at them across the sidewalk if you're just going to take it back when you get it all out of your system and pack up to go home? (actually, I apologized for screaming about that at Al that day, but that's different...)

They keep us corralled in invisibly-marked "free speech zones" where we can "safely" let off steam and think we fought a good battle before we all pack up for our parties that night and go back to our daily lives the next week, where we may or may not have the time or energy or means to resist until the Nazis march again in Phoenix...
and in that way they have been winning - subduing the restless masses with their paternalism and smiles...maintaining the illusion that we are a real democracy because the people can protest...

Tell me, though, Red Squad - what if Americans, like the young and old alike across the Middle East - seriously demanded more democracy, more equality, more freedom, more justice - and threatened to kick our government out by force if we didn't get it in this election cycle? What would our police state look like then? Would it not look much like theirs?

See, I think that's precisely what we need to be doing, as too many of us have grown too numb to the growing human rights and civil liberties crises around us - much like some of us have stopped actively resisting the fact that we are still at war...too many wars.

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