Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Det. Chris Wilson, admitted child sex abuser, singled out by PPD for his work repressing Occupy Phoenix

In the thousands of emails released recently as a result of a public records request done by the Center for Media and Democracy about local and Federal police surveillance and repression of Occupy Phoenix was a little one-off comment ironically singling out Detective Chris Wilson for getting a "shout out" via Twitter following the December 9th raid on the encamplent (PPD/fusion September 6B, p25).  The tweet was sent from Occupy Phoenix's Twitter account.  It said, "Someone tell Detective CHRIS WILSLON [sic] that Phoenix got raided AND THE OCCUPATION WON'T TAKE IT!"

For people who don't know, this is interesting because Detective Wilson was both the police liason to Phoenix LGBTQ community and also one of the enforcers on the ground of police repression of Occupy Phoenix.  As a member of the Orwellian-titled "Community Relations Bureau", protests and activists came under his jurisdiction.

His presence was divisive because some protesters felt, given his relationship to the LGBTQ community, that he had good intentions with regard to the protest and could be trusted.  Det. Wilson was a regular at the camp.  Some occupiers shared information with him.  In one notable situation, the cops were apparently caught off guard by the discovery that there was an "occuhouse" somewhere nearby that occupiers had acquired, which allowed them to clean up and rest without fear of police harassment.  Eventually another detective learns of the location from some occupiers and Wilson followed up by chatting with a women driving the shuttle that ran between the two locations (PPD/fusion September 7B, p22).

Others, more skeptical of the police, thought that the cozy relationship between Det. Wilson and some occupiers was a bad idea, and were more suspicious of his intentions and of the community relations branch of the PPD, which they called the "Red Squad" for its history of policing protests and tracking activists.

Anyhow, the memo in question was from an email chain remarking on the posting of a video of the PPD's December 9, 2011 raid just days before on Occupy Phoenix, in which the cops dismantled the camp and seized equipment.

Of course, Det. Wilson is infamous these days for totally different reasons.  On August 7th, Phoenix Police arrested him, one of their own, after allegations surfaced that he had sex with two boys, one of them 14 and the other 17 (read the police report here) on two separate occasions.  These were boys he met through his work as the LGBTQ liaison.

As this case moved through the courts, it was later revealed in a CBS 5 investigation that there were accusations by Det. Wilson's supervisor, Sgt. Mark Schweikert (a chief architect of the PPD's response to OPhx), that he believed that Wilson was "difficult to supervise... because of interference from openly gay City Councilman Tom Simplot and out Assistance Chief Tracy Montgomery."  That is, Wilson had political protection.  This despite several complaints against him from the LGBTQ community (read Schweikert's memo here).

Det. Chris Wilson tackles a protester in 2010

This raised obvious questions about whether the abuse of the two boys would have happened at all had Wilson been better managed or removed from his position, but also about his role in the repression of Occupy Phoenix (although the media has largely ignored this latter connection).

Whatever Schweikert thought about his problems with Wilson, apparently there were some people in the PPD who thought this loose cannon was an appropriate choice to police Occupy.  Certainly there was already cause for concern, as the above video of Wilson tackling a protester with what certainly looks like unreasonable force in September 2010, a full year before Occupy got started, would indicate.

The city was happy with the way that the PPD handled Occupy Phoenix, but these emails raise very serious questions about how that was done and who was allowed to do it.  The apparent ironic nature of the comment about the Twitter "shout out" certainly suggests that it wasn't a top concern at city hall.

This is part 2 in our ongoing series analyzing recently released police and Federal documents detailing their surveillance and infiltration of Occupy Phoenix and anarchists in the Valley.

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