Across the country, police have used undercover and/or plainsclothed police officers to monitor occupations and protests that are a part of the 99 Percent Movement. Earlier today, the Tennessean published excerpts from emails sent by the Tennessee Highway Patrol that confirmed not only that police were infiltrating Occupy Nashville but that they were hoping for the movement’s demise.
In a video released last month, Oakland Police Officer Fred Shavies was outed as one of these plainsclothed officers at Occupy Oakland. Watch it:
Now, in an interview with Justin Warren, Shavies said that he was just doing his job and that he actually supports the movement. He said that the police brutality that occurred could be our generation’s Birmingham — referring to the civil rights struggle in the South — and that he hopes the movement is a turning point for changing the country:
SHAVIES: I’m a police officer. I’m part of the 99 percent. […] In the ’60s when people would protest, would gather in order to bring about change, right? Those protests were nonviolent they were peaceful assemblies. They were broken up with dogs, hoses, sticks. […] It looks like there was a square, and police shot tear gas. That could be the photograph or the video for our generation. That’s our Birmingham. So, twenty years from now this movement could be the turning point, the tipping point, right. It’s about time your generation stood up for something. It’s about time young people are in the streets. […] Ya’ll don’t need to throw gas canisters into a group of people occupying an intersection.
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Shavies’ brave words make him one of the few police officers who has publicly stepped forward to question heavy-handed police tactics and to openly support the 99 Percent.
A reader points out that Shavies himself was part of a police brutality case a few years ago.