Smith's story opened:
The saga of the Austin Police Department's infiltration of the Occupy Austin movement continued in Harris County court last week when the real names of two undercover detectives assigned to keep an eye on the OA activities were finally revealed.This was quite an undercover operation, don't you think? Perhaps at one of the hearings scheduled early next year the judge can delve further into who made the decision not to disclose the existence of APD undercovers to prosecutors pursuing felony charges against the Occupy protesters. Grits has argued before that the alleged Brady violations are "a bigger deal, even than the alleged entrapment."
According to a transcript of the pretrial hearing, APD officers Rick Reza and Deke Moore – known to Occupiers as "Rick" and "Dirk," respectively – worked alongside already-outted investigator Shannon Dowell, a.k.a. "Butch," in keeping tabs on the OA movement throughout the fall and into the winter of 2011. Reza and Moore's names were included in documents turned over by the APD to lawyers representing OA member Ronnie Garza and six other protesters now facing felony charges for using a so-called "lockbox" to obstruct a roadway at the Port of Houston during a protest there in December 2011. The issue yet to be resolved is whether Reza, Moore, and Dowell actually induced Garza and the others to use the device, which ratcheted up the obstruction of a road charge from a misdemeanor offense to a felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail.
According to Garza and other Occupiers, they hadn't considered using a lockbox – a sleeve made of PVC pipe into which protesters can slide their arms and lock themselves together with carabiners and bolts – until the undercover officers suggested it. Moreover, they say that the cops, posing as Occupiers, actually purchased the materials and assembled the devices, delivering them to the protesters for use. Indeed, among the items turned over to the defense during the Oct. 31 hearing in Judge Joan Campbell's Harris County courtroom were a series of photos depicting Dowell and Reza assembling, and goofing around with, the device in a garage. (Ed note: see above)
See prior, related Grits posts: