Amidst the tarps, sleeping bags, and food wrappers at City Hall during the Occupy Austin protests last fall, three people were not who they appeared to be. Not occupiers, but infiltrators.
Known as "Butch," "Dirk," and "Rick," all three were undercover officers with the Austin Police Department.
Occupiers say that "Butch," aka APD detective Shannon Dowell, went beyond infiltration and actively encouraged members of the movement to create and deploy a homemade device called a "lockbox." The device enables protestors to anchor themselves to each other, or an object, in a way that is almost police-proof. Several protestors used the devices in a protest at the Houston port, and were arrested on felony obstruction charges.