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Inside the Phoenix PD's Use of Federal Anti-Terrorism Resources to Track Valley Protesters

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Dach tells New Times that she did not intend to share information with police to hamper protesters' efforts.

"There were huge safety concerns," she says. "People forget that, at the time, sidewalks were not yet expanded, and police were working with a lot of residents and business owners to keep [First Fridays] a safe event."

First Friday is a monthly art walk through downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row, a revitalized urban area with restaurants, galleries, and boutiques.

Dach's e-mail to police let them know that activists planned to meet later on October 7. It wasn't until Hodai requested thousands of documents and e-mails from the PPD that Dach's message to cops came to light.

It drew mixed reaction from Occupy members, some calling for a boycott of her businesses.

Her public apology was posted on Facebook and OccupyPhx.org:

"I am truly sorry. It was never my intention to provide an intelligence-gathering tip to local police or [to] attempt to disrupt free speech." She added that, after reading Hodai's report, she "realized how naive I was in this situation."

Calling what transpired a sobering lesson, she said she didn't know her information would be "used instead to gather information about an Occupy meeting."

For D'Angelo, the PPD's information-gathering campaign against Occupy members "reinforces the notion that they were being treated like terrorists or criminals."

Although she had served on the city's Human Rights Committee, had been a spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Transportation, and knew members of the state fusion center, her Facebook page and social-media accounts were monitored by police.

Detective Wren, Phoenix's terror liaison officer, told a colleague in an e-mail that he was gathering information from D'Angelo's social-media accounts, but he asked the officer not to mention anything to her about him "trolling" her Facebook page because he and D'Angelo were longtime friends.

"What amazes me is the tone-deafness of the Phoenix Police Department and city officials about why we were protesting," D'Angelo says. "They were assuming criminality and that Occupy was just a bunch of dirty hippies. That just wasn't the case."

One of the "dirty hippies," it turned out, was former Arizona Senator Gutierrez, also a past gubernatorial candidate, who was among those carried away by police in the early hours of October 16 for overstaying their welcome at a city park.

Boghosian says such action often "placates the public into thinking law enforcement is dealing with national-security threats." The reality, she says, is that the PPD was investigating "domestic activism" when it should have been "pursuing real criminal activity."

The local ACLU defended those arrested, and in nearly all cases, got the charges against them dismissed.

"At best, it's a bad use of police resources," ACLU lawyer Pachoda says, "because there was no indication that people were planning crimes, committing crimes, or meeting for any other purpose than [constitutionally protected] political protest."

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo