[Edit: Please see below for an important caveat]
I have never thought of myself as overly trusting of authority, especially police authority. It had never occurred to me that the similarities between the #OccupySLC crackdown and other police incursions in other cities were anything other than coincidence or shared "best practices."
Stop what you are doing right now and read this piece from Examiner.com (emphasis mine):
Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict "Occupy" protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And, according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.
The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies have received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Occupy protests rests with local law enforcement.
According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.
This raises a few questions, all of them of critical importance.
Did Chief Burbank or other top figures at the Salt Lake Police Department receive "advice" or "training" from federal officials on how to handle the #OccupySLC protesters?
More importantly: did the SLPD's plans for invading Pioneer Park predate the death of an itinerant man that supposedly led to the eviction of protesters? If so, by how long? How much of the substance of those plans came from federal agencies?
I'm not going to jump to conclusions here, but the SLPD has some serious questions to answer.
[Update/Edit: Angry Black Lady is calling bull$h!t on this, and based on her indictment of Examiner.com as a source, I have to say that until further confirmation is given, take this with a grain of salt. These are still questions that the SLPD needs to answer, however - if they were negotiating "in good faith" with #OccupySLC while planning a massive crackdown, I'm not sure they understand what "good faith" means.]
[Update/Edit2: Well, the AP is confirming most of the details. I'm going to go ahead and say that while Examiner.com is not the greatest source, they did get the scoop this time.]