Milwaukee, WI – It’s hard enough for 12 fired janitors and their supporters to go up against the big money and powerful interests of a 1%er like Stewart Wangard, but with the Milwaukee Police Department also doing sneaky undercover surveillance using a false facebook identity it’s even harder. Milwaukee police officer Michael Murphy posed as “Mickey Lynch” on Facebook in an attempt to “befriend” dozens of Milwaukee activists and organizations including “Justice For The Milwaukee 12″ Facebook page for the purposes of doing surveillance on their activites. To make matters worse, Murphy aka “Mickey Lynch”, posted public comments on Facebook such as “I heard the rally was cancelled?” in a deliberate attempt to mislead participants. There is more . . . Murphy is not only a Milwaukee police officer but the Chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Liberty Caucus.
The clumsy ruse was uncovered by Murphy’s own sloppiness, he called Occupy Riverwest activist and SEIU organizer Dave Somerscales on his own personal cell phone but failed to remember to block his number. After realizing that Somerscales had “outed” him as a fake undercover avatar on Facebook (against Facebook’s legal policy by the way) Murphy called Somerscales and revealed who he was. The police officer and Republican operative was annoyed that he, in his attempt to see what actions would happen next, was led to believe that a rally was going to take place at 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue at noon on Friday, March 9th. There was no such action planned but Murphy took the bait in his own overzealousness and then told Somerscales that he thought the two, “had a relationship that was on the level.” If this is what the MPD considers “on the level” then the people of Milwaukee need to be wary, very wary.
Murphy succeeded in “friending” hundreds of Milwaukee activists and organizations. The “Mickey Lynch” avatar has been taken down by Murphy – he told Somerscales he was taking it down in the cell phone conversation – but who knows how many conversations and activities Officer Murphy spied on or joined in. While it may not be entirely shocking that the police do surveillance of organizations and activists, the level of deceit and the fact that Murphy is an active Republican operative using his position of power to forward his own political agenda is outrageous. It is also disturbing that a police officer is violating Facebook policy for his own agenda. Is he picking and choosing what rules he wants to follow and which ones he will ignore on behalf of disrupting a peaceful movement?
SEIU Local 1 has done nothing that would warrant such egregious misuse of police authority and resources. The rallies have been peaceful and are protected under the Bill of Rights of the Constitution – Amendment 1: The right of people to peacefully assemble.