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Undercover Cops Confirmed
Notes about confirmed undercover police officers, one pictured.
3/20/03 between 7 and 8 PM
Market Street - San Francisco
The man in this picture, who identified himself to me only as "Wallace", is an undercover police officer. I asked him the simple question "Do you work for a law enforcement agency?", and he quickly steered the subject to how I must have something to hide to ask a stranger a question like that. I repeated the question, and he said "Thats none of your business". I asked if he could tell me he did not work in law enforcement, and he said he could not. He then began grilling me about the first amendment, and said he thought he believed in it "more than [I] did". He brought up the age old "yelling fire in a crowded theater" argument, and attempted to bait me into saying that protesters were overstepping their 1st amendment rights (by insisting that he actually believed in a more 'absolute' free speech... bizarre). He was generally polite, as was I, though he did say he thought it was a shame that "these people make our city unlivable". He asked if I was "with these protesters", and a said I was a member of the public.
Earlier in the evening, I had another affirmative reply to my "do you work in law enforcement?" query. Unfortunately the man turned his back and ran off before I could get a photo. I had previously overheard him on his cellphone reporting that it was "gonna get ugly down here", and saw him and other (presumably) undercover agents trying to direct a crowd as if they protesters themselves. Not surprisingly, they attempted to navigate the bay-bridge-bound group of people back towards market (This, along with the phone call, prompted me to suspect the man who I later confirmed, by asking, was law enforcement).
People protesting need to be aware that there _are_ plainclothes police among us at these events. As far as I know, they are not legally allowed to lie if you ask them (though I am not a lawyer, and if anyone has any links to more definite info please post a comment). It's not hard to pick out people to ask; they're the ones misdirecting, talking into sleeves, and doing silly fed-givaway type things. Take more pictures, and point them out to others. You'll be surprised how many you spot once you're looking.