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APD, continued from page 9 Bagels to buy coffee for the lockeddown protesters when he noticed an awkward looking group of men. “They were all reading the front page of different newspapers, not talking to each other, some with ear pieces,” recounted Darby. In an attempt to confirm his suspicions that they were undercover police, Darby said he talked with them briefly and then jogged down the street to catch up with the protesters, who were then marching toward Congress Avenue. Darby said that after noticing that the men from the bagel shop were following him he ran inside a gas station to purchase a disposable camera for evidence in the complaint he planned to file with APD. Deutsch, a journalist who has written for the Austin Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman, told the Chronicle that he was tackled and arrested upon trying to photograph the suspected undercover officers. After pleading for the men to show their badges, Darby said he, Deutsch, and another man were thrown into the back of an unmarked van where one of the suspected undercover officers yelled at them, “You want to see my badge? Austin po-po, motherfucker!” At central booking, Darby said he was accused of being under the influence of cocaine because his heart rate was measured at 122 beats per minute. Darby, an asthmatic, said he tried to explain to them that he was only scared. Later, Darby was asked by a police officer whether he was “part of a national underground organization of people that take photographs of undercover police so that people can assassinate them,” he said. Darby was given a citation for “pedestrian in a roadway” while Deutsch was charged with jaywalking. In the second memo, Minorwho, according to a Google search, served as Dripping Springs’ Pinto League Baseball Commissioner for the 2002-2003 seasonexpressed concern over activists acquiring and publishing the names and pictures of undercover police officers. He wrote: “Websites were mentioned for antiwar protest ers. I have looked at these websites and observed that they are posting pictures of the officers at the protests on these websites. The tactics of antiwar protesters obtaining photographs and names of officers making arrests and posting them on the internet jeopardizes the safety and integrity of the organized crime detectives who work in undercover capacities on a daily basis.” The Austin Independent Media Center \( was one of the few, if not only, websites that contained photos of undercover APD officers. According to Tanya Ladha, a member of Austin Indy Media, the online database of undercover police was recently hacked into and erased. It was replaced by the message “Try, try again.” She says that the password necessary to hack into the site was only revealed once in an e-mail between two of the group’s members. In Sgt. Long’s memo, he wrote of how difficult it was to “infiltrate a culture of society that is highly suspicious of new members.” Minor reported that “leaders closely scrutinized [his] presence.” Dahlstrom admitted that some officers blended in better than others. “One got along with everybody real well and another one had people yelling, ‘Cop! Cop!”‘ he said. Minor wrote in his memo, “I was questioned about my name and why I was there. After passing this test, I was allowed to stay for the training.” But according to Scottie Buehler, a UT student and the other “leader/ organizer” identified by name in Minor’s memo, the “test” Minor was forced to undergo may have been nothing more than the standard icebreaker for many local activist groups. At the beginning of the training session, all attendees were asked to state their name and whether they had an arrest record. Buehler acknowledges that it is possible that someone else grilled the detective privately but said she is unaware of that happening. Although open record requests have already revealed APD’s assignment of at least four detectives for infiltration purposesDerry Minor #2010, James Green #2361, Robbie Volk #3278, and Tamara Joseph #2268more information on the police’s clandestine activities may be on the way. The Austin People’s Law Collective, an activist group specializing in legal defense and education, claims that despite APD having more intelligence on Austin protesters and organizers, they refuse to release the information. According to a public statement by APLC, the collective’s objective is to help “people understand that their rights are being violated and that they have a medium for finding out what the and holding them accountable for their actions.” In December of 2003, APLC filed open records requests asking for any memos, correspondence, databases, videos, photographs, informant reports, or files related to APD’s documentation of Austin activists and activist groups. APD refused to fully comply. Consequently, APLC is currently awaiting judgment from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott as to whether APD is legally compelled to release the requested information. \(The Department of Public Safety was more responsive to APLC’s open record requests; DPS turned over a CD containing candid photographs of individual protesters at demonstrations and the times and locations of local For the ACLU, the actions of the Austin police are another indication of how a post 9-11 backlash has imperiled the First Amendment. “The police secretly infiltrating meetings chill the First Amendment rights of protesters to freely associate,” believes Will Harrell, executive director of the Texas ACLU. “But when they use those meetings to identify leaders and actually target them, it becomes a McCarthyite nightmare. This is a textbook example of why the framers of our constitution provided for the freedom of association in a free society.” Jordan Buckley is an Austin activist and honors student at the University of Texas. He is currently studying sociology at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 2/27/04