So here you are, all fired up about some political cause or another. You want to overthrow the government, you’re pissed about climate change, police brutality. You have your molotovs made or sharpie-stained poster board in
hand; you’re ready to take to the streets to exercise some free speech. But first, you should learn how to spot a huge potential hindrance to your political expression: an undercover cop.
Police infiltrating protests isn’t anything new. The FBI ran COINTELPRO in the ‘60s and ‘70s to disrupt political movements. In the early 2000s, the NYPD monitored anti-war protesters and infiltrated political groups. The Philadelphia Police Department infiltrated activists trying to organize protests during the 2000 RNC. In Minneapolis last year, protesters spit on undercover officers when they discovered authorities had found their way inside of Black Lives Matter organizational meetings. There are also “agent provocateurs”—individuals who try to agitate protesters in the hopes of an arrestable reaction. Police have used sex as a tactic to disrupt protest groups as well.
Essentially, if there’s a protest or political movement going on, odds are some branch of law enforcement is monitoring it on multiple deceptive levels. You should have your guard up as much as possible.
The biggest difference between undercover officers and plaincloth
es cops is that undercovers tend to be part of an investigation for the long haul and like to build relationships with their sources to get the big case or the best intel. Undercover officers infiltrate movements and become trustworthy as opposed to simply showing up in “plainclothes” to monitor demonstrations and potentially blow their cover by arresting demonstrators. But for the purpose of this guide, the two are the same.
Here’s our (not by any means all-inclusive) guide to spotting undercover cops:
For information about how to look out for long-game infiltrations take a gander at this document about some commonly used tactics. You should also brush up on what more seasoned activists call “security-culture.” Stay safe out there.
Article Imported from Ratter.com