Three undercover detectives working for the Austin Police took actions to radicalize the Occupy Houston movement that culminated in the arrest of 20 protestors last December who had sought to block an entrance to the Port of Houston.
According to the Houston Chronicle
, state District Judge Joan Campbell lectured prosecutors at a pretrial hearing Wednesday for seven Occupy defendants in the case for failing to disclose the detectives' undercover roles and the fact their actions may have actually aided the protestors in resisting arrest.
But prosecutors insisted the involvement of the Austin officers came as a complete surprise to them and the Houston Police Department. They insisted they were never informed of the undercover operation by the Austin police and said had it been known, the information would have been turned over to defense attorneys representing the Occupy protestors before the pretrial hearing.
Austin Assistant Police Chief Sean Mannix, however, defended the conduct of his department and his detectives, saying, “I have no reason to believe they behaved improperly.”
Campbell has delayed further hearings in the case until September 25 in order to fully review the extent of the detectives’ involvement leading up to the arrests in Houston. At issue, is whether any more information or evidence is being withheld in the case that should be made available to the defense.
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