LAPD undercover cops infiltrated Occupy camp before raid, source says
The Los Angeles Police Department's effort to evict Occupy L.A. protesters from their camp at City Hall included using Occupy undercover officers in the weeks leading up to Wednesday's raid, a police source said.
None of the officers slept in the camp, the official said. Instead, they tried to blend in to gather information about potential problems or complications -- such as any weapons being stashed or protesters planning to resist -- that the LAPD might face when the raid occurred.
The official said the information the officers gathered was helpful but downplayed the significance, saying that since so much of the Occupy meetings were public, information about protesters intentions were easily attained. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.
Most of the nearly 200 Occupy L.A. protesters who remained in jail were expected to be released Friday because they have clean criminal records, according to the city attorney's office.
A couple of dozen protesters -- chanting, "All night, all day, Occupy L.A!" -- rallied Friday on the sidewalk across from Central Arraignment Court near the Men's Central Jail downtown.
Attorney Carol Sobel, who has advised the protesters, said Friday that 183 arrested protesters would be released without an arraignment. In all nearly 300 were arrested early Wednesday when 1,400 LAPD officers broke up their 7-week-old encampment surrounding Los Angeles City Hall.
The city attorney's office has up to a year to charge those being released, but it is not clear how many ultimately will face prosecution.
News that the LAPD used undercover officers as part of its eviction plan was first reported Friday evening by City News Service.
The LAPD has won praise from city officials for its handling of the raid, which did not result in any major violence.
-- Joel Rubin and Ricardo Lopez
Photo: LAPD officers arrest an Occupy L.A. protester near the encampment at City Hall on Wednesday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times