D.C. Police Say Undercover Officer Used To Infiltrate Group Because Of Assault | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Police Say Undercover Officer Used To Infiltrate Group Because Of Assault

D.C. police officer Nicole Rizzi posed as "Missy" to infiltrate a labor rights group.
Photo courtesy of In These Times magazine
D.C. police officer Nicole Rizzi posed as "Missy" to infiltrate a labor rights group.

The Metropolitan Police Department says that it was forced to use an undercover officer to infiltrate a labor rights group after a uniformed officer was assaulted at an anti-sweatshop protest outside a Gap clothing store.

The claim was made in a court filing responding to a lawsuit by United Students Against Sweatshops, which argued earlier this month that the police department violated a D.C. law by using an undercover officer posed as a protester to infiltrate the group. The group was able to identify the officer, who went by the name Missy but is legally known as Nicole Rizzi, by linking her to postings made on social media sites.

According to the filing, the decision to use an undercover officer was made after a uniformed officer was "punched and body-slammed by at least three individuals within the group of protestors" during the May 1 protest. Nine days later, the use of an undercover officer to investigate possible violence at other planned demonstrations was authorized. The initial lawsuit, though, says Rizzi was spotted at protests as early as March.

A 2004 D.C. law requires that police demonstrate reasonable suspicion that any political group is planning on engaging in criminal activity before infiltrating. They also have to receive proper authorization and demonstrate that no other less-intrusive means exist to achieve the same end.

The department argues that the undercover officer was the least intrusive way to investigate the group, and that the group's free speech rights were not infringed because members did not know the officer had infiltrated them. "Here, members of the Plaintiff’s organization were not chilled in their speech as they did not know an undercover officer was present," argues the department in its filing.

D.C. police have been criticized in the past for using undercover officers to infiltrate political groups. In September 2012, the D.C. Auditor wrote in a report that police officers did not receive the proper authorization in 16 of 20 investigations of groups engaged in First Amendment activities.

One person was arrested for assaulting the police officer at the May protest, though the case was later dismissed by a judge. The officer who was assaulted is being sued by another protester who alleges that he used excessive force.

Final USAS Opp to Pl Mot for PI

NPR

Impressionist Hero Édouard Manet Gets The Star Treatment In Los Angeles

Manet was not himself an Impressionist, but he mightily influenced the movement. Two of his paintings are now in L.A. The Railway is making its West Coast debut, and Spring just sold for $65 million.
NPR

Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

Scientists have recovered cultivated wheat DNA from an 8,000-year-old submerged site off the British coast. The finding suggests hunter-gatherers were trading for the grain long before they grew it.
WAMU 88.5

Paycheck Politics And The Homeland Security Bill

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is blasting Republicans who claim that the department's workers can weather a temporary shutdown if Congress can't finish legislation to fund the department by the end of Friday.

NPR

Fines Remain Rare Even As Health Data Breaches Multiply

Since 2009, a federal watchdog has levied only 22 penalties against health care organizations for failing to safeguard information about patients.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.