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City of Tampa, Mayor’s Office
306 East Jackson Street
Tampa, FL 33602
September 5, 2012
As I sat at Camp Romneyville last Thursday night reflecting on the week’s events, I pondered how well my fellow activists managed to maintain an effective level of non-violent actions. I was impressed by how we diffused agent provocateurs and undercover law enforcement in our camp and on our marches from initiating any confrontations with law enforcement. I was equally impressed with the way law enforcement conducted themselves.
Then I watched the Department of Solid Waste empty the trash cans delivered to us earlier that day. All that was required were a driver and one person to empty the cans, but two additional cars with several other employees with cameras and notepads came along. They were writing down their observations of the camp, and snapping photos.
This is called domestic surveillance. Adding to the license plate software tagging every car that entered downtown and the facial recognition software utilized through the many cameras prevalent through downtown Tampa, this creates a disturbing apparatus. Complete with several thousand law enforcement dressed in military uniforms patrolling the streets, you are now complicit in creating a fully realized police state.
You can claim no part of the success of the lack of violence or arrests at the RNC. The success is due to the way the police and protesters handled themselves in the field. Remember, the Orient Road Jail was cleared out in preparation for mass arrests. You and Tampa City Council (same goes for St. Pete’s Mayor and City Council) failed the residents, business owners and visitors of the bay area. You have paved the way for further escalating authoritarianism. You have all failed democracy.
Where were the violent anarchists that was used to justify the use of $50 Million in security and the suspension of a democracy? The only anarchists I saw led our marches peacefully, and went anywhere across the city they chose to go leaving your official parade route empty, just as I promised you we would.
By overplaying your hand, and scaring people away from protesting through the threat of police violence as well as over stating the effects of the hurricane, we were able to handle the undercover agents who normally provoke tensions between police and protesters. This allowed us to stay on message and confront the real threat to our country, people like you.
We claim victory. And I share that victory with law enforcement. Now you have thousands of law enforcement officers questioning the intelligence they were given about the myth of the violent protester who never materialized, and instead saw Americans standing up for truth and justice. Maybe next time they will be in our ranks defending us and ousting threats to democracy from people such as yourself.
Free Speech Project