Police = Provocateur?

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News reports are surfacing that police were
caught carrying rocks, wearing bandanas, and
masquerading as members of the Black Bloc at
a peaceful demonstration in Quebec today.
Their role, ostensibly to start a riot and put
protestors in a bad light, came to an abrupt
end when protestors led by union president
(CEP) Dave Coles outed the undercover
officers and sent them packing back behind a
line of riot police where they were "arrested"
with a measure of gentleness that most
protestors could only hope for in most
instances.

Tell me again why I should respect authority?
Or, why I should tell my kid to trust the cops?

Grow up RCMP. This is not America. Freedom
of speech, protest, and peaceful assembly are
still more than figures of speech in this
country. You serve and protect us, not the
ambitions of Bush boot-licker Stephen Harper.

Story linked below includes youtube video of
the incident.

Dave Coles acted quite well and I think did a good job of keeping his protest peaceful, and deserves credit for doing so. That being said you have no evidence that these "provocateurs" were or are cops. Just because you wish it were so or some yahoo in the crowd yells it doesn't make it so.

In the fullness of time it may bear out that they are, although I doubt it very much. However it would reflect well upon you to have some evidence before blaming the RCMP. Currently the position that these are cops seems to be conspiracy tin-foil hat kind of stuff.

Now it's time for some indignation. The police have admitted that these three were cops.

Quick note - it was the QPP - just don't want the RCMP's already tarnished image further damaged.

"just don't want the RCMP's already tarnished image further damaged."

Is that possible?

I still have alot of respect for the average joe RCMP officer. I think the RCMP have like all other military organizations a level of insularity at the upper regions that is unhealthy and the appointment of a non-RCMPer to the top post will hopefully work to reducing that (but I am an optimist).

As to the protest - I actually saw the video and read a few articles on this. Seems a pretty clear cut case of the QPP putting a few undercover cops in the rabble to be able to identify any real problem causers. If they were carrying rocks (like all the other protesters) my inclination is to believe that they did so to blend in and not to incite. That is until further proof turns up. Until then it seems like a whole bunch of hullabaloo over a pretty normal police practice that has been deemed within the law already. Anthing more than that right now is self-serving indignation by the Union to make brownie points in the eyes of the public. Think Monty Python ...

DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!

ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!

DENNIS: Oh, what a give away! Did you here that, did you here that, eh? That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn’t you?

Correction noted re: Quebec police rather than RCMP

Dewar of Deeds opined:
"If they were carrying rocks (like all the other protesters) my inclination is to believe that
they did so to blend in and not to incite"

None of the other protestors (at least in that group) were carrying rocks. The entire incident
was sparked when CEP president Dave Coles demanded they put down the rocks and remove
their face masks. Are you sure you saw the video? As was noted in a different forum, police
are unlikely to let you stand beside them with a large rock at a protest because it can be used
a weapon.

Considering it's pretty tough to go to a protest like that these days without being filmed and
observed, I'm not so sure undercover cops (esp. at a peaceful political protest) need be in the
crowd trying to stir up trouble to identify the problem individuals. It smacks of dirty tricks if
you ask me.

And, joke if you will about the "violence inherent in the system" (one of the funniest bits in a
very funny movie)... but there is a lot of violence inherent in the system. Do you think those
guns and batons they carry are for show?

"I still have alot of respect for the average joe RCMP officer."

I'd like to really respect the police. I understand their vital role in our society. But, when you see
and hear about them breaking the very laws they have sworn to uphold (drinking and driving
esp!!!!!) and generally act as though 'the rules' don't apply to them, it gets pretty hard.

When they start acting as the political apparatchiks of the government then we really have a
problem.

Stump: "police are unlikely to let you stand beside them with a large rock at a protest because it can be used a weapon."

If they were indeed acting as "undercover" officers, why wouldn't they? What do you think the UC's do all the time when they infiltrate drug cartels and organised crime? Do you think they jump a guy every time he pulls a weapon? If so, we'd have some pretty ineffectual undercover operations, and some pretty short-lived UC's.

Just like I wouldn't want all Ultimate players to be judged by the talk, intonation and choice of words of some of those that post on these forums... I also don't think it's entirely fair to say that because a few police do some 'bad' things, every cop is unworthy of respect.

Some people in particular groups are jerks, say bad things, and/or do bad things... but that doesn't mean that it's right to apply this label to the entire group.

Putting aside the obvious differences between a peaceful assembly and a drug cartel... do you
think undercover officers perform contract killings as part of the charade? You know, just to fit
in?

"Just like I wouldn't want all Ultimate players to be judged by the talk, intonation and choice of
words of some of those that post on these forums... I also don't think it's entirely fair to say
that because a few police do some 'bad' things, every cop is unworthy of respect.
Some people in particular groups are jerks, say bad things, and/or do bad things... but that
doesn't mean that it's right to apply this label to the entire group."

Unfortunately, you are the company you keep, esp. when there's some bad apples in the bunch.
Further, the lack of censure that seems to occur when these things happen do nothing but invite
accusations of favoritism and a double standard.

I'll admit to not having a chance to see the video yet, but did the cops use the rocks they were purportedly carrying in cause damage and/or incite violence?

I would suspect the UC's wouldn't have to kill, but I for one cannot speak to the lengths those fine people must go to to infiltrate those organisations.

"I'll admit to not having a chance to see the video yet, but did the cops use the rocks they were purportedly carrying in cause damage and/or incite violence?"

I think joining a protest while masked and holding a weapon (rock) is inciting violence, don't you?

I'm not a cop or a lawyer, but I feel confident in assuring you that cold-blooded murder is NOT
within normal police procedure during undercover work. Nor should mingling in with peaceful
demonstrators and giving the impression that violence is imminent be a part of their tactics.

I actually did watch the video (a couple of days ago even) and I saw no part of it in which the under cover agents were inciting the crowd, nor attempting to provoke anything. From watching it, the theory that they were there to merely observe is quite believable. Probably they misjudged what kind of protest it was, came prepared for a more counter-culture protest (their outfits certainly suggest that) and were somewhat befuddled when it turned out to not be so.

Their behavior is consistent with that theory, at least to me they seemed somewhat confused and unprepared to be called out.

The only question is why that one guy held on to that rock, if indeed it was a rock.

"The only question is why that one guy held on to that rock, if indeed it was a rock."

If you were trying to fit in with non-rock carrying, non-face obscuring folks, why would you
continue to buck the crowd, unless you had plans to use the rock? As to whether or not it was
a rock read the news story excerpted below.

Note also that according to eyewitness reports the undercover police forced
their way to the front of the crowd. If you are just there to observe why put yourself in the
spotlight in that way? Consider also what the police and the Conservative gov't have to gain
by the
demonstration getting violent. Far more than the demonstrators that's for sure.

From a CTV.ca news story (full story with some interesting comments by readers linked
below):

Authorities initially denied claims from protesters that officers had infiltrated their ranks but
later acknowledged the three men were police officers.

They admitted the officers were undercover after footage of a confrontation between the men
and Montebello demonstrators surfaced on the popular video sharing website YouTube.

Insp. Marcel Savard defended the three agents Friday at a news conference in Montreal, and
insisted they were not there to provoke demonstrators.

"At no time did the officers in question engage in provocation or incite anyone to commit
violent acts," said Savard.

He also said one of the officers was given a rock by protesters but the officer had no intention
of using it.

"One of the extremists gave the rock to one of our police officers and he had a choice to
make," Savard said.

"He was asked by extremists to throw the rock at the police, but never had any intention of
using it."

Or, in plain English. "We were lying, but now we're not. Honest. You can totally believe we
didn't want them to incite violence, because now we're telling the truth." Yeah, right.

Thank goodness the police were there trying to save us all from the dreaded spectre of a legal
demonstration by national organizations showing just how ambivalent Canadians of all stripes
are about hitching our "security and prosperity" wagon to our paranoid, making-enemies-like-
there's-no-tomorrow neighbours to the South.

Although, I must admit, the SQ have now given every last-minute, no idea what-to-wear
Halloween party-goer an easy and amusing costume option.

I think it's important to note this incident took place in the "Green Zone", not a restricted area. There was no strategic target to protect.