During the protests centered around Berkeley, a small group kept trying to incite the crowd into engaging in illegal activity, from fights to looting. Happens in any large protest, right? In this case, however, it turned out that this group of inciters were undercover police officers.
UNDERCOVER COPS in march just exposed – they were instigators of looting. Pulled gun on protestors when discovered. #berkeleyprotests
— Morpheus Ravenna (@MorpheusRavenna) December 11, 2014
When exposed, they immediately turned violent, threatening protestors, and even drawing a weapon on anyone who dared use a camera.
— OK Council (@OKcouncil) December 11, 2014
Once revealed, the police were on-scene in record time. The undercover officers themselves took the man who revealed them into custody, over protests by the crowd.
The media of course presented the incident as being an anti-police protest, failing to even grasp that the issue they are protesting is not the police itself, but the lack of police accountability.
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) December 11, 2014
The officers claim that they were attacked by the protestors, which forced them to draw their weapons. What they seem to have forgotten is that they put themselves there, and according to reports were actively attempting to escalate the protests into illegal activity. You do not walk up, punch someone, then complain that they’re upset. The police here attempted to create a violent situation, then claimed surprise that they were attacked.
The reality is, the police cause a significant amount of protest violence. Tactics like implanting an undercover officer who then actively attempts to get the crowd to engage in criminal activity, have a name – entrapment. It is illegal for the police, uniformed or not, to actively entice anyone into committing a crime. By these officers’s attempts to convince the protestors to loot, they were breaking the law. If the orders to do this came from higher up, those supervisors too were breaking the law.
These officers and this department only reinforced the very problem which the protests are over in the first place – police accountability. If these officers are not cited, if their supervisors not punished, it only proves that the protestors are in the right and that these protests must continue.