Chicago cop assigned to NATO surveillance team still spying on dissent one year later
Teachers’ March 2013 rally, immigrants’ May 2013 gathering among targets by cop who infiltrated volunteer health care providers’ group.
A Chicago police officer assigned to a surveillance task force in the run-up to Chicago’s May 2012 NATO protests has been caught spying on dissent in the city a full year the NATO summit, according to a just-published investigative report and a statement by a volunteer health care project that he infiltrated.
As recently as May 1, 2013 the police officer was masquerading as a member of Chicago Action Medical, which provides emergency health care at protests and public gatherings, at a legally permitted rally and march. Besides spying on the immigrants’ event, he contacted members of CAM for information about a March 27, 2013 rally to oppose school closings. CAM – whose members raised suspicions about the true identity of ‘Danny Edwards’ more than a year ago – has formally expelled him.
The police officer’s ongoing surveillance of political groups and peaceful protesters at constitutionally protected public gatherings has raised real alarms that any group – from parents and teachers to health care workers – who oppose the policies of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be targets for infiltration and worse. The undercover cop was also centrally involved in the criminal cases against two of the NATO 5 defendants who’ve since taken non-cooperating plea deals, and may be called as a witness – and possibly as an agent provocateur – along with fellow undercover police officers at the heart of the three remaining NATO criminal cases. Supporters of the NATO defendants have expressed disappointment that information about ‘Danny Edwards’ undercover work was not aired in open court because two defendants were essentially coerced into taking plea bargains that will allow them to be released from jail months before they were scheduled to go on trial.
“The public has a right to know about Chicago’s police spying on dissent in Chicago,” said Scott Mechanic of CAM. “We believe the CPD infiltrated CAM to try to gain information about protest groups in what may very well be the redeployment of Chicago’s notorious Red Squad. While we don’t have special access to information, CAM members do have a bond of trust with protest communities, who know that when they see us on the street we’re there for one reason only: to treat their injuries and safeguard their health. The CPD may have believed that they could exploit that trust to map social networks, entrap someone, or sow fear and distrust. It’s outrageous that our society allows the expenditure of vast sums of money to fund these predators who undermine democracy.”
The photographic record documenting the cop’s undercover activities over the course of at least the last year is growing: http://bit.ly/10MIHnd