Back in December of 2011, the Austin Police Department working through DHS funded Fusion Centers tried to set up a bunch of Occupiers. It was a protest out at the Port of Houston, it was in solidarity with the West Coast Port Shutdown called by Occupy Oakland. We were shutting down a road as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with Oakland, but we didn’t find out until later that undercover detectives were at our planning meetings. It turns out that the Austin Police Department built and supplied PVC pipe “lockboxes” for protesters to use in Houston and they coordinated all this through the Fusion Centers in Austin and Houston. We didn’t find any of this out till after we had already been to jail, released, had the charges dismissed by the judge and then re-indicted by a Grand Jury.
It wasn’t until then that we got an anonymous tip-off that a police officer named Shannon was calling himself Butch and had been involved in the planning of the port action. But the DA in Houston was saying they didn’t know anything about police officers from Austin. We didn’t have a last name, we didn’t have enough for court so the whole thing kept dragging on. We must have gone to Houston a dozen times but we kept getting reset for later dates until finally they wanted to take us to trial on Sept. 17th 2012, the 1 year anniversary of Occupy Wall St.
Months had passed since we got our anonymous tip and we still didn’t have an identity but finally, after Ronnie Garza did much digging around on the internet, we were able to find a Detective Shannon Dowell with the Austin Police Department that seemed to match our guy. At a pre-trial hearing, before we were to go to trial, is when the defense finally got Shannon into court. At that point the trial took a very different turn. We learned that a total of 6 undercover detectives had actually infiltrated Occupy Austin, but only 3 were involved with this action. We also learned that the chain of command went to the Chief of Police himself. But the DA in Houston was resilient, and still wanted to take our case, which had already been thrown out once, to a trial by jury.
Things went dark after we won, our discovery of the undercovers got us headlines but the embarrassing emails, texts and pictures weren’t getting out. The court verified details of how Fusion worked to set us up weren’t getting out. So I’m making a documentary about it.
There are a lot of details to this story. How did we get the identity? Who were the other undercover officers involved? How was the Fusion Center involved? How did they collect their intel? Why does it seem we are missing a lot of information in the emails they turned over? Why did one of the protesters from that action spend almost two years in jail as a result of the arrest? Is there a lawsuit in here? Why didn’t the media care?
This page will document the document, we are making a documentary about the entrapment and will document the progress along the way. To this end we’ll be uploading vids that we record along the way, then at the end cut it all together into a coherent story. We have answered a lot of questions so far by piecing together stuff from the emails, but we are still looking for answers.
APD Communication Disclosure Overview
We received 2 packets in response to subpoenas for the Gulfport 7 case. The APD packet is 277 pages and the DPS packet, received several months after the APD packet, is 14 pages long. Most of the DPS packet is completely redacted.
I have created a detailed outline of the contents of the APD packet. The purpose of this outline is to give the reader greater insight into the story that the email and text messages tell but it is also a work in progress. The outline is open for comments and I recommend anyone who notices typos, errors or who has more to add to write a comment on the document.
As a general overview the APD Disclosure Packet is 277 pages long. Within are events that look to begin as early as September 29th 2011 and extend to February 15th 2012. There are 43 Police Officers of various rank and department exchanging email.
1 Assistant Chief of Police, 1 Director of DPS, 1 Captain of DPS, 5 Commanders, 6 Lieutenants, 9 Sergeants, 5 Detectives, and 3 Senior Police Officers amongst other ranks can be found in the emails.
Departments and agencies include: the Austin Police Department, the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, the Organized Crime Division, the Human Trafficking Unit, the Strategic Intelligence Unit, the Narcotics Unit, the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Fusion Center, the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the US Coast Guard, The Port Authority, the Houston Fire Department, Customs and Border Patrol, the Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security and the Department of Homeland Security.
The average salary for the officers in this packet is just over 100 thousand dollars, $100,689. This quote from Thomas Jefferson is repeated throughout: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” This comes from the “signature” which is at the end of each email from LT Gerardo Gonzalez to the undercover officers.
Several Undercover Officers with DPS are mentioned but not named and 6 Undercover Officers from APD are mentioned, 3 who’s identities are revealed as Detectives Shannon Dowell, Ricardo Reza and Deek Moore.
APD top ‘brass” knowledgeable of the Undercover Officers infiltrating Occupy Austin and the Port Solidarity Action are as follows.
Top ranking are Assistant Chief of Police Brian Manley, followed by 5 Commanders, Donald Baker, Chris McIlvain, Troy Gay, Jason Dusterhoft, and Stephen Deaton. Following behind them are a fleet of Lieutenants, and Sergeants, principle amongst them being Lieutenant Mark Spangler who runs most of the day to day operations at the Austin Regional Intelligence Center (ARIC) and apparently the day to day operations when it came to Occupy Austin.
Working closely with Spangler were Lieutenant Gerardo Gonzalez from the Organized Crime and Human Trafficking divisions, and Sergeants, Tom Sweeney, James Boujemaa and Keith Suitt from APD. Rounding out this level of command are Captain Jaeson Jones and Lie tenant Jairo Saenz from DPS and The Texas Fusion Center (TxDPS).
Beneath them were the 3 primary undercover officers and a few supporting Detectives and Senior Police Officers who play an important data gathering and coordination role. The most active lower officer is a man named Calvin DeGraffenreid who’s job, it seems to be, is to monitor the online communications of Occupiers and report back to fusion with intel. We see 2 fusion Situational Awareness Report (SAR) Updates penned by DeGraffenreid and a slew of emails.
The core group of officers, about 15, utilize the facilities of Austin Regional Intelligence Center to hold meetings, gather data and coordinate. We see 2 planning meetings held at the “ARIC” leading up to the Port Action. Which brings us to our next section, coordination.
In regards to coordination between Austin and Houston, what we know is that Austin contacts Houston exactly 4 times in this packet. The emails come from LT Mark Spangler with APD and the Austin Regional Intelligence Center to the LT of Police in Houston, Robert Montalvo. But, something to note, Spangler only speaks with Montalvo once, briefly, in the first email on Dec 9th. The other 3 emails are only forwarded information. In that first email, Spangler says that APD has been watching Occupy Austin and knew the group planned to come to the Port and bring lock-boxes. Then he says he will forward him more info once he gets back to the office.
About 10 minutes later Spangler sends over 2 more emails. One forwards a calendar of events from Occupy Austin in December but the Port is not mentioned at all. Not once. An “Occupy your Instrument” Jam Session is listed as are some working group meetings but NO Port. The third email forwards intel that Dallas is also coming to the Port, this email contains 1 flier and 10 missing attachments. So by the end of the third email, with exception to the lock-boxes, Spangler has let Montalvo know exactly what every occupier in Houston, Dallas and Austin already knew. Following the third email is a yawning chasm of silence.
According to the packet we received, they don’t speak to each other for another 42hrs. Maybe they were mad at each other, I don’t know. If you ask an Occupier it was the day of our International Human Rights Day March and Rally, but for APD and HPD, nothing. There is nothing in this packet from Dec. 10th between Austin and Houston. No emails, No texts, nothing. Which just seems odd because over the course of 7 days, Dec. 3rd to Dec. 9th, APD finds out about the Port Action, infiltrates a planning meeting, meets at the Fusion Center, comes up with the schematics for designing the lock-boxes, buys the material to make the lock-boxes, infiltrates another planning meeting, meets at the Fusion Center again, and then actually makes the lock-boxes. Then finally, on the night of Dec. 9th contacts Houston about a potential crime involving 3 cities, a major port, Sleeping Dragons… And then it looks like they just meditate on. Maybe they were thinking about how much money they were making, maybe they were thinking about International Human Rights Day, I don’t know. All I know is the next time we see Austin contact Houston, 42hrs later, it’s Dec. 11th at 2:30PM.
This forwarded email is the only other moment of coordination we have between Austin and Houston before the Action on the Dec. 12th. Again the message is not from Spangler but he forwards some intel to Montalvo. It says that the lock-boxes were “dropped off” and.. “Again, officers should be equipped with 1/4 wrench and some pliers for easy removal of the devices.” And again I wonder when they said it the first time? Either way, this is the only time and this 1 sentence is the only sentence out of this entire 277 page packet that informs officers in Houston about how to safely address the challenges APD has created by making the lock-boxes. Got Safety?
We also have 1 email back from Houston, the day after the action at the Port. On Dec. 13th Montalvo sends Spangler an arrest list. They essentially threw the world at us for this action at the Port, yet we are handed a demure 4 emails amounting to 1 sentence of preparation. The organizer in me just doesn’t buy it, but of course I don’t work for ARIC… Got Fusion?
All the while, in the background, 1 Assistant Chief of Police, 1 Captain of DPS, 5 Commanders, 6 Lieutenants, 9 Sergeants, 5 Detectives, and 3 Senior Police Officers and likely many more are all aware of undercover officers inside of Occupy Austin. From what I’ve learned APD and HPD have either a very unique way of coordinating or they have a very unique way of responding to a courts’ request for information.
Which brings us to the press conferences. APD produced 2 press conferences in relation to the discoveries of the undercover officers, 1 on August 31st and one on Sept 5th. To quote Assistant Chief Sean Mannix:
“I can confirm Austin Police Department had plain-clothed police officers as well as uniformed officers assigned to work the Occupy Austin events of last year and early this year. It was determined plain clothes officers blending with the surroundings was necessary for the safety of the participants and the community as a whole. The primary mission of these officers was to protect the free speech activities of those engaged in lawful protest as well as initiating police response and action with regards to criminal activity.”
Moving to the 5th, Assistant Chief David Carter took a shot at explaining things as well. This time with a little less certainty than Mannix.
“What we believe at this time is that the officers truly acted in good faith and (in) what they believe was their public duty. However, it is not clear what the plan was and if appropriate controls were followed. I’m not saying there wasn’t a plan, I’m saying we didn’t know about it at this level. Normally, such actions are vetted by supervisors to ensure any undercover assignments, number one, pass legal muster and number two, address safety concerns.”
It was also stated at this conference that APD would be conducting an internal revue, the results of which will be available after the trial. So really, they seem to be saying they just don’t know what happened or at least not “at their level.” Yet, Assistant Chief Manley knew the undercovers were infiltrating a planning meeting, and knew it was because they were going to be in another police departments jurisdiction, he’s at their level. Additionally, 3 Commanders were asked permission to provide schematics. That’s pretty close to their level. So why don’t they know what happened? Do the police routinely just not talk to each other? Is APD kinda like elementary school where the Chiefs get mad and swear to never speak with each other? Does ARIC actually stand for Austin’s Really Incompetent Cops? I don’t think so, but I also don’t appreciate being micturated upon and being told its raining. The story doesn’t add up, it’s obvious to see but that’s what they are selling. We should expect more.
By this point many people are aware that Occupy Austin had undercover officers embedded. From the APD Packet we know that a total of 6 officers were involved with Occupy Austin but only 3 were involved with the Port of Houston Solidarity Action on December 12th 2011. Occupy Austin had to be tipped off and find the identity of the first Detective, Shannon Dowell. The other two detectives were named in court as Deek Moore and Rick Reza. The name of a fourth undercover officer was obtained by Occupy Austin from an Open Records Request with the city. Back in December of 2011 we submitted a request for information. When we finally got the information, not much seemed relevant but after finding out about the undercover officers and re-examining the Open Records Request it is clear that we found the identity of a final undercover detective: Shane Woodward. The following is a profile of the 3 officers, we are asking for any help in developing the profile of the 4th officer, Shane Woodward. The Officers will be ordered by apparent ranking within the operation, Deek Moore being the lead undercover followed by Shannon Dowell and Rick Reza.
Detective Kelly Deek Moore, APD, Human Trafficking/Vice
Kelly Deek Moore, or “Dirk” as he went by at Occupy Austin was the point man between APD brass and the other undercover detectives. Notably, Deek is a musician AND activist AND detective. Detective Deek Moore joined APD’s Human Trafficking/Vice Unit in June 2010. He began his law enforcement career with the Amarillo Police Department in 1995. Detective Moore came to the Austin Police Department through a modified academy in 1999, and has been assigned to various patrol areas, including bike patrol in the downtown entertainment district and West Campus area of UT. Moore has worked a variety of undercover assignments, including 5 years with Southwest Street Response – a unit that addressed street-level narcotics, prostitution, serial crimes and warrant service. In 2008 he promoted to the rank of detective, and was assigned to SW Investigations. Detective Moore served as a South Bureau night shift detective for a year before coming to the Human Trafficking Task Force. He has taken an active role in the grassroots volunteer group Allies Against Slavery, which supplements the efforts of the Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CTCAHT).
Best Quotes: (from the APD Packet)
“Leading the action” (pg. 48)
Dowell 12/3/11 10:10pm
Hey Tricky Ricky, we prob meeting with Fusion and our chain tomorrow afternoon to discuss tonight’s meeting. Just FYI
Rick 12/04/11 11:24pm
What time and where. What happened
Won’t know till tomorrow. Probably 1pm or later at the Fusion center, Shannon and I are leading the action against Wal-Mart distribution center in New Braunfels. Just kidding about that last part. Sort of…
“It was Classic!” (pg. 81)
Schmidt 12/7/11 2:19PM
Anything from last night?
Moore 12/7/11 2:32PM
Nothing notable, Except one girl telling a small group, ‘you know we can’t surprise the cops. They’re probably tapping our phones and sending people to our GA’s’ It was classic! 🙂
Rick 12/08/11 12:32am
You guys ever leave
Yeah…I took twitter dee, or twitter dum home. My good samaritain deed for the week.
Detective Shannon Dowell, APD, Narcotics
Not as much is known about Shannon other than he was our first lead on this case. His first name was given to us in a tip-off email we got from a concerned citizen. We know that Dowell had infiltrated the group as early as Oct. 3rd along with Det. Moore. We also know that he had an epic beard and was something of an instigator. Dowell was known to come up to folks and ask when we were going to “make something happen”, and start “acting” rather than “debating” all the time. In the end, Dowell still has some of the most interesting things to reveal about this operation, which are still being debated and obscured today by the APD. Dowell said his chain of command went to the Cheif and he was working under an “intelligence unit” (ARIC), but the details of command and control of this operation are still unknown, even by the APD.
Best Quotes: (from the APD Packet)
“Distract the responding police” (pg. 48)
Detective Rick Reza, APD, Narcotics
Even less is known about our pipe wielding friend here, Det. Reza. We know that he was not with the camp as early as Moore and Dowell but they had been to numerous actions before the 12th. One of the most outstanding things Reza did, besides pose for this epic photo, was to bring a bag of bricks to a march. Yes, Rick Bag-O-Bricks brought a full bag of bricks to a march and let organizers know that he had them ready in case they wanted to “kick it up a notch.”
Best Quotes: (from the APD Packet)
“They make you guys the leaders!/Put that on my stats” (pg. 107)
Rick 12/12/11 7:30pm
Natalie atwater, Emily?, Duffy got arrested on felony charges in Houston. They all had PVC pipes on them.
Gonzalez 12/12/11 8:49p
Great news!! The PVC worked! Free the 99%! thanks.
No problem. That’s 8 ppl we won’t see for a while. Ha ha
Sounds good…they make you guys the leaders!!
Rick 12/12/11 9:09p
Sounds like a plan. So do we get credit for 3 felony arrests and 5 md? Put that on my stats
Gonzalez 12/12/11 10:47p
Yes u do!
Detective Shane Woodward, APD, Narcotics
Help us get a picture of Shane Woodward! An email we obtained from an Open Records Request is sent from Det. Shane Woodward reporting back the announcements of a General Assembly on Oct. 3rd 2011. This meeting was held BEFORE there was an Occupy Austin camp with two attorneys present. We have the minutes of that meeting here. Woodward mentions both Det. Moore and Dowell in his reportback which makes it clear that he was working in an undercover capacity as Det. Dowell had a full beard and would have stood out as a police officer had he been in uniform. We obtained info from the Open Records Request back in early 2012 but it was not until we had more information from court which made it clear that Woodward was one of the 6 UC’s named in the APD Packet. We have not uploaded the entire contents of the Open Records Request yet, just the email from Woodward, but there may be more clues in there as to what happened and who was involved. If anyone has any additional information about Woodward, especially an image, please send us info through social media or send email to email@example.com
APD Disclosure Packet Summary (PDF | Google Doc)