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18 March 2006

Internal NYPD memos disclose tactics used in 2002 during the World Economic Forum which icluded 'proactive arrests', intimidation, psychological manipulation, infiltaration. It appears that towards the time of the Republican National Convention in 2004 those tactics escalated to essential entrapment and mass arrests of protesters.

In five internal reports made public Thursday as part of a lawsuit, New York City police commanders candidly discuss how they had successfully used "proactive arrests," covert surveillance and psychological tactics at political demonstrations in 2002, and recommend those approaches be employed at future gatherings.


 The reports provide a glimpse of internal police evaluations and strategies on security and free speech issues that have provoked sharp debate between city officials and political demonstrators since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The reports also made clear what the police have yet to discuss publicly: The department uses undercover officers to infiltrate political gatherings and monitor behavior.

Indeed, one of the documents--a draft report from the department's Disorder Control Unit--proposed in blunt terms the resumption of a covert tactic that had been disavowed by the city and the federal government 30 years earlier. Under the heading of recommendations, the draft suggested, "Utilize undercover officers to distribute misinformation within the crowds."


 Browne also said the "proactive" arrests referred to in the report--numbering about 30--involved protesters with pipes and masks who he said presented an obvious threat.

In another report, a police inspector praised the "staging of massive amounts" of armored vehicles, prisoner wagons and jail buses in the view of the demonstrators, writing that the sight "would cause them to be alarmed."

NYC cops used covert tactics, `proactive arrests' at protests
Jim Dwyer, New York Times News Service, March 17, 2006

While arresting demonstrators who had put on masks and seemed to be ready to engage in violence was likely justified this clearly appears to be a waystation on the road to preemtive arrests of completely non-violent demonstrators. Nor, it would seem, is this sort of aggressive appoach confined to New York City as some law enforcement officers throughout the country seem to act quite in line with the attitude reflected in those memos.

Originally posted to borepstein on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 06:23 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Proactive Arrests (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bombing a village to save it, no doubt.

    As a former arrestee of the NYPD, I can say that I am not surprised, but the many lawsuits that are coming up around this, the RNC protests and Critical Mass seem to be going in the plaintiffs favor, for a change.

    See you in the gulag!

    by joojooluv on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 06:23:24 AM PST

  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

    I have pictures from pier 57.  I get to hand all this over to my grandson.

  •  I've been thinking about how to deal with this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kraant, sirenoftitan

    What if instead of having a protest of thousands of people on the street, people all wore an identical color (say bright green) and didn't march - just milled around downtown, coming in and out of coffee shops with bright green shirts with lettering like "impeach him now", etc.

    Noone could be arrested, noone would be accused of improper behavior - on the contrary, the very "mainstream America" quality of the protest would be on display as thousands of people with bright green shirts swirled all over town...

    What do you think?

  •  The Police State... (0+ / 0-)

    marches on....we urgently need Congressional Hearings on Spygate--for a start!!!

  •  I was there that week on business and pretty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    much had one of the more frightening experiences of my life whilst walking down Park Avenue South at about 6ish along with hoards of other people leaving work for home or play and all of a sudden the police rounded us up, there were sirens, police shouting get out of the way, police cars screaming through the traffic and there was one guy running away from them with political type stuff.  Some of the cops had their guns drawn.  It was way over the top for one guy running around with a banner.  This cop was telling us to stay put and I'm thinking this is so over the top it could be some sort of real terrorist moment and I'm thinking "fuck that I'm not hanging around here to watch them challenge a terrorist" so I asked him what the hell was going on and he said...

    "We have a convention protester we are pursuing."


    I had numerous issues with that experience.  The fact that they made us all stay put really freaked me out.  It was as if they wanted people to witness their power.  We were just at a spot where we could easily have been directed on to 29th street and away from the action, but we weren't.  No one was.  There were cops all along each side of the avenue doing the same thing with the commuters.  It wasn't right.

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