Plant caught

Internet users get it done fast: the identities of animal abusers, the provenance of clever media hoaxes and the details of shocking crimes are often exposed within minutes. To the galleries of summary internet justice we can add another new art: spotting, catching and exposing provocateurs who encourage protestors to break the law. [OC Weekly]


  1. The article says “VIDEO PROOF”, but I think I’m missing a few steps in the proof: Reportedly violent person at protest expresses wildly inconsistent views and has numbers tattooed on her wrist. Therefore, person is a police officer? For that to be the most parsimonious explanation, it seems like you’d have to argue that agents provacateur are more common than slightly crazy people.

      1. They speculated that it seemed like a badge number.  (Also, would a cop tattoo their own badge number on their wrist?  Seems like a family member of a police officer would be more likely to do so.)  It’s still unclear if she’s a police plant or  just crazy – I’m leaning towards crazy.

        1. Yeah, if you tattoo it on your wrist, then it’s just another thing you have to put tape over when you’re on duty…

    1. If true, this wouldn’t be the first time police were caught as plants trying to incite a riot. In 2006, a Garden Grove police officer admitted under oath during a deposition to masquerading as a protestor during a protest of Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist in Garden Grove.

      So police don’t necessarily have any ethical issues with such tactics.  But there’s no direct evidence that the police were actually involved in this.

      I don’t think she was crazy either (there are people with actual diagnosable mental illnesses and it seems a little reductive and insulting to go around labeling every asshole as “crazy”), if the tattoo is a relative’s badge number then I expect she’s just very angry that anyone could ever be upset at the police or think that the police had done anything wrong.  And I think she decided to make her point by trying to provoke a police riot.  Class act all the way.

      1. Interesting point about the word “crazy”; I hadn’t though about that. I’m more careful *not* to use the word “crazy” when talking about people with diagnosable mental illnesses. It seems like that would be more insulting to the mentally ill than the way I used the word. Still, perhaps you’re right, in which case the word “crazy” would have little polite use. In that case I suppose I should have said, “irrational, unstable, and/or troubled” instead of “crazy”. Not that this woman definitely is any of those things, just that it seems more plausible an explanation than the agent provacateur hypothesis. There are other possibilities too, of course: maybe she just had a legitimate change of opinion mid-day and the bottle-throwing story is false.

        1. There are other possibilities too, of course: maybe she just had a legitimate change of opinion mid-day and the bottle-throwing story is false.

          That would contradict almost everything I know about human nature, while freaking out because a bunch of strangers are indirectly criticizing a loved one is absolutely consistent with what I know about human behavior.

          “Irrational human being” seems redundant to me.  I agree that she’s probably not a police plant, I’m still guessing “vigilante agent provocateur”.

  2. If she is a police plant, it would seem a poor tactic to obviously switch sides in the course of a single protest. It does sound as if she might just be having problems, but obviously I can’t know. It will be interesting to see what turns up.

  3. A tattoo of a badge number is something spouses of police officers sometimes get. That seems likely here.

  4. Sure looks like amateur hour to me. Maybe figuring if shit goes down hubby gets a little more overtime? 

    C’mon, what department would be dumb enough to give an undercover assignment to someone with a badge-number tattoo?

    Such a shame—thousands of decent people turn out for change, but the stories are always about the kooks, not the issues.

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