Published On: Thu, Jul 25th, 2019

Refuse Fascism attacks LAPD over use of informant, spy tactics as ‘baseless and dangerous slander’

Far-left anti-Trump activists have been investigated as the LAPD ordered an informant to spy on members of a political group planning protests against President Trump in 2017, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday, vowing that the agency would publish findings of an investigation into the matter, while also suggesting the group had engaged in violence in other cities in the past.

photo/ RefuseFascism.org

From the LA Times: “For four weeks in October 2017, the LAPD’s Major Crimes Division sent the informant to secretly record audio of Refuse Fascism’s meetings, which were held inside an Echo Park church, as the group planned demonstrations to mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s election. Civil rights advocates and experts who monitor the political fringe have said the LAPD’s tactics needlessly stepped on the group’s First Amendment rights, since Refuse Fascism has rarely been linked to violence.”

Here’s how they responded, from their Tuesday press release:

At today’s Los Angeles Police Commission meeting, LAPD Chief Moore engaged in baseless and dangerous slander against Refuse Fascism, in an attempt to justify unconstitutional LAPD spying and persecution of Refuse Fascism in its efforts to mobilize millions in non-violent sustained mass protest to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

This spying was just made public in the Los Angeles Times, “LAPD informant infiltrated left-wing activists during Trump protests, records show.”

Isabel Cardenas, co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org, demanded to know whether and who from the Police Commission authorized sending a Confidential Informant to infiltrate and spy on meetings of the LA chapter of Refuse Fascism in the Echo Park United Methodist Church. No one from the Commission would answer this question, however, Chief Moore responded that there were “allegations of people who identified with political action group but were also identified as being involved with criminal acts including arson, vandalism, assault with a deadly weapon and those types of criminal acts…”

Miguel “Alex” Antonio, a member of the Revolution Club and defendant in the Freeway 9 case said, “Chief Moore is telling a dangerous lie, trying to legitimize unconstitutional LAPD spying and criminalize non violent protest, especially protest that breaks out of the bounds of passively depending on the official channels. Trump is rounding up immigrants, threatening to murder 10 million Afghan people, and making openly white supremacist statements intended to unleash his violent fascist mobs. We are calling on mass, non-violent sustained protest like they’re doing in Puerto Rico to stop the potential destruction of our planet and humanity. For this, we are being slandered, dragged into court, spied on and criminalized by the LAPD, the LA City Attorney Mike Feuer and the Police Commission” who are collaborating with a Justice Department now ruled by fascists.”

Chantelle Hershberger, one of the Freeway 9 defendants, said, “Trump has expressed his desire to outlaw protest, anti-protest laws are on the books across the country, the Republicans are working to classify anti-fascists as ‘domestic terrorists.’ The LAPD is spying on, criminalizing and now defaming Refuse Fascism in a coordinated campaign of political persecution, meanwhile the organized white supremacist fascist stormtroopers are being given a green light. Their “free speech” is being protected while non violent dissent to this is being silenced and prosecuted. This is fascism. This is why we blocked the Freeway to stop business as usual and sound the alarm a year and a half ago. This is one more reason why millions must get in the streets to demand: This nightmare must end! The Trump/Pence regime must go!”

Antonio said, “We demand the politically inspired prosecution desist, that criminal charges be dropped and that the LAPD cease and desist in this kind of defamation. We want to know the full extent of their cover-up and spying campaign.”

Background: Members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club are currently in criminal cases before the LA Superior Court for protests that took place from September 2017 through March 2018, aimed at sounding the alarm and calling people into the streets to stop this fascist nightmare. In August 2018, the City Attorney filed 57 misdemeanor charges against 11 defendants simultaneously in a coordinated effort to suppress and criminalize political protest. These include two defendants from the Freeway 9, arrested for blocking traffic on the 101 Freeway in downtown LA, whose first trial ended with a hung jury, 9 to 3 for acquittal.

The judge declared a mistrial and the prosecution doubled down, calling for a second trial, now set to start as early as August 15. Other defendants were arrested for asking Steve Mnuchin pointed questions at UCLA when he spoke in February 2018. The other trials are set to begin in September.

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