"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, September 18, 2012

Mom, not cops, busted Wilson....

   protesting the protest police at Freeport McMoran, PHX
September 17, 2012

 
We need to be more protective of these youth being friended by cops, folks - and I don't mean just shaming the state's potential victims (and "snitches") into silence and secrecy. We should bring the cops into the light, instead - not simply slam them as individuals, because that's what gives them a big in with these kids. 


Looking back at last fall, I'm sure I could have been part of a more productive dialogue with some of those young Occupy friends of Wilson's than what I ended up doing most of the time - which was simply yelling at them for not seeming to get it that the cops are the enemy's soldiers. I can think of a few youth who really struggled with their own identities, their place in the movement and their interpersonal relationships with older activists, and were consequently more vulnerable to being seduced by someone like Chris.  

It didn't occur to me that he had his own agenda as well that went so much deeper than doing his job as a cop, building a trusting rapport to lighten us up and glean information. I knew he was out to hurt our liberation movements because that's what they here to do - protect the status quo. If they weren't they'd have to admit that the laws they enforce are mostly BS, and walk away from their jobs. But I didn't consider the possibility Wilson was out to prey on us on a more personal level. That's where I think the other cops fell down big, not reining him in; they're the ones who should have been on him about those kinds of boundaries. I still don't understand how Sgt. Schweikert and the Lieutenant could have possibly not been. This guy was busted by a text message found by a kids mom, not an astute colleague trained in detecting criminal behavior. 

Perhaps we should be reassured that the Red Squad failed to police their own guy - maybe they're more incompetent and oblivious than I give them credit for. I don't think that's a safe road to go down, though. I don't think the capacity of police - especially detectives - to engage in deception and manipulation or to hurt or kill one of us if they're told should be at all underestimated - they're the ones with the guns and the benefit of the court's doubt in the aftermath. I think the Red Squad played a big part in deciding who got arrested among us through the year, and condoned the special mistreatment of the people among us they knew were most vulnerable to police harassment - like our comrades who were homeless at the time. With their help last year the city pretty effectively derailed a big part of the Occupy PHX momentum; they are hardly incompetent. As far as I'm concerned, they were complicit in Chris Wilson's transgressions for applauding all his other boundary violations. How could they not have seen this coming?

And how can we, from our end, head it off the next time we all see warning signs?

One example I'm thinking of went down at the ALEC action at SRP. Once the PHX PD arrived, at least 50 or 100 anarchists in black were pushed back towards the road by the cops, and Wilson strolled over to our line to say hello to one young Occupy guy who was clearly enamored of him and emotionally vulnerable. A bunch of us yelled for Wilson to shove off, and this kid turned around and started defending his humanity against our taunts - to which we all responded with something to the effect of "shut the fuck up you idiot - he's the enemy" (that's was a huge paraphrase, not really a quote). I was ready to tell him to hit the road with Wilson myself. Chris just stood there smiling at the guy, almost as if he knew he just won him over by making him chose to turn on us instead - and seemed oblivious to the danger he had put him in by coming over like that, too. One of the other cops had to call Wilson away from us because we were getting so agitated. That's how I remember that scene, anyway. 

That kid was so impassioned because he felt a personal connection with Wilson that I think I probably only helped deepen by trying to shame him into compliance with security culture norms - it just made him feel more compelled to defend his budding friendship. Rather than criticizing the individual attributes or motives or humanity of people we don't even know, we should be focusing on exposing them as agents of the state who engage in psychological warfare, deconstructing more carefully for their victims what's happening. They depend on those kinds of tactics more than the cops seem to in other cities - there they just bash heads and drag our people in front of grand juries over bandanas and anarchist literature. Here they try to get right in bed with us and our children, instead. It's those smiles we have to beware of.

When undocumented Puente activists shut down Washington Street outside the Federal Courthouse a couple of months back, Officer Friendly - Sgt. Schweikert - took great care to go to each one personally and made sure they knew they'd be arrested if they didn't move, offered them some water, and either patted them on the back or shook their hand - with a smile. Meanwhile the rest of the Red Squad was clearing the media and the rest of us from the path of the arresting officers. Then the uniforms moved in and did their thing. It creates the illusion that the Red Squad isn't there to police us, that they're really there to protect us, even from the police themselves. Do not be fooled by this, if you are.

Remember, by the way, that when I write about the Red Squad I'm only referring to the diplomatic ambassadors the PPD dispatches to assure that we all have "a safe protest experience". What concerns me more is what we aren't seeing the cops do - tearing up all our private lives in investigations we have yet to hear of, helping to foment strife across our communities of resistance, and so on. There's a much bigger operation going on behind them. The Red Squad is mostly gathering intelligence by interacting with us and the public around us - which includes surveilling all our facebook activity for evidence of conspiracies, logistics of upcoming protests, and to map out our social networks, in case anyone has forgotten. We shouldn't assume that just because no one has been indicted like the BS going down elsewhere, there's nothing to worry about. You don't have to commit a single crime in this town to be prosecuted, you know - especially if your primary target is the police state itself. 

The good manners of the Red Squad threaten to lull us all into complacency; that has happened with some folks already. I hope that if nothing else, what happened with Wilson and these young activists will put our people back on their toes, and get us all thinking differently about how we deal with these kinds of boundary violations and how to keep our own people safe from the cops.

-----------------------

Text message sparked investigation into sexual misconduct by Phoenix officer


azfamily.com
 by Crystal Cruz
Bio | Email | Follow: @
Posted on September 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM
Updated today at 6:00 PM 

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Police Department just released its report about a former officer accused of sexual misconduct with two boys, ages 14 and 17.

Christopher Wilson, 43, was arrested last month and is facing 10 felony counts in connection with two alleged sexual relationships.

According to the documents, the 14-year-old boy's mother found a text message on her son's cellphone about him kissing a 43-year-old man.

The concerned mother took her son to a counselor after he became suicidal, then police were contacted.
In the report, Wilson admits to investigators he had sexual contact with the boys at least once.

The detective at the time took the boys to lunch at a Chili's restaurant in July. All three ended up at the 17-year-old's apartment. Wilson and the older boy got into the shower then all three got into bed.

The younger teen, who is in 10th grade, told investigators he felt "pressured into joining."

The openly gay police officer also worked as a liaison to the LGBT community with the police department.

The 17-year-old told investigators he met Wilson through work, possibly at a protest.

Throughout the year Wilson gave the teen clothes, suits and money to help him out.

The older boy also told investigators he spent the night with the detective after a trip to the teen's dentist.

Wilson resigned after his arrest.

He told investigators, "…It's my fault man. It was all mutual. But, I mean I was a fool on my part. I should of known better."

Wilson spent 13 years with the department. He also was a member with the U.S. Navy.

Wilson remains in jail.

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