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Friday, August 17, 2012

The Police Bureau's Occupy Informant Will Remain a Mystery

Posted by Nathan Gilles on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 3:56 PM

With court dates for all but a handful of Occupy Portland protesters finally set yesterday morning, much of the drama in the movement's months-long court fight—at least in the pre-trial phase of proceedings—has finally been put to bed. But still up in the air? Whether the police will reveal if they were using informants or undercover officers during the protests. Although chances are we won't find out anytime soon.

Defense attorneys for Occupy have been warring with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office over police reports and documents. And they’ve gotten a number of them, including 134 pages of police documents the Mercury first reported on last month. These documents mention “an Occupy Portland source” the cops were using to gather intelligence on the movement. But whether this source was an informant, an undercover officer, or even a person at all and not a website is still unknown. Lawyers say it will probably stay that way.

In court yesterday, it still wasn't confirmed whether the source was a person. Nonetheless Multnomah County Judge Cheryl Albrecht ruled that “source” would be revealed, if, and only if, the DA decides to ask that source to testify in the upcoming court dates.

“We're all operating under the assumption that it is a person," says Richard McBreen who argued the motions requesting the police documents. But it's ultimately the DA’s decision to call the source or not, and McBreen says he suspects the DA won’t call the source to the stand, because doing so wouldn't much help the government's case. “So that pretty much ends our inquiry right there,” he says.

But you never know. The court dates during which the mystery source may or may not be revealed are listed below the cut.

And they are:

Sep. 5-6: trial for Chapman Square evictions

Sep. 11: trial for Main and 3rd

Sep. 26-27: trial for Jamison Square.

Oct. 2: trial for Col. Summers Park

Oct. 3-4: trial for Chase Bank

Oct. 8-9: trial for Elizabeth Nichols

Oct. 15: trial for F29 protests

Nov. 13-14: trial for May Day


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