Shane: an undercover cop in Hamilton, ON

Submitted anonymously to North Shore Counter-Info

He was here – on and off – for about 2 years, first appearing in the Summer of 2016.

His name is “Shane”.

That’s his undercover name, and his real name. “Shane Bond”, is what he told us – with “us” being the different communities and circles in Hamilton he tried to infiltrate.

Shane was just another dude when he showed up. To be honest most of us didn’t take notice – at least not at first. There were no leading or intrusive questions. He didn’t incite divisive arguments or spread gossip. He was quiet – maybe even boring. And while he did persistently harass some women in our community to grab a beer despite rejection it didn’t scream “cop” so much as misogyny – an experience that’s unfortunately still somewhat normal in our circles.

To those who engaged or paid attention, Shane presented himself as a bicycle riding part-time painter, complete with a shitty ‘supercycle’ bike and painting pants. He had an apartment at 20 Emerald Street North – a Hamilton Housing building for folks with low income – that was furnished with a leather couch, some photos, and some paintings. Shane had “a girlfriend” who “worked at a private day care” who no one met, and a muscular feminine presenting friend with below-shoulder length brown hair “from Dundas” who came to at least one event.

Shane’s arrival came after several years of dedicated anti-pipeline organizing and heightened anti-gentrification efforts. He was known to attend The Tower for events and socials, Hamilton 350 meetings, anti-pipeline events and a handful of public demos including an antiracist rally and a solidarity demo at barton jail.

Mostly, but not completely, Shane failed at his job.

For all the time he spent here trying to build relationships and ins he didn’t get far. It took some time to connect with people who interacted with Shane, verify their stories, and write this text but with some reflection we know that Shane didn’t have much more to offer his higher-ups than that which any casual observer could. He wasn’t successful in his intended infiltration. The only exception to this was that after having been around for two years, he was in the right place at the right time. Shane was shown a flyer for a demonstration against gentrification on Locke Street, which he attended, and he appears to be giving evidence against people charged in connection with it.

Ultimately Shane was best at was avoiding cameras – or at least ours. We had a hard time finding a picture of him. But as it turns out; back in 2011 Rick Mercer hung out with Hamilton Police and Shane – a then-yellow-jacketed ACTION cop – made a promo video with Mercer where you can see him shortly after minute 2:12. Since embarrassing shit never really disappears from the internet, we grace you all with his rat goof face anyway.

In His Words: Shane’s Backstory

Shane told folks he was from Saskatoon and BC. He seemed to know a good amount about both places, including detailed climate and geography. He said he painted part-time and sometimes attended events “right after work” in painter’s pants. His apartment was mostly-furnished, had art on the walls “painted by his mom” and what we understood to be personal photographs. He said he enjoyed loose-leaf tea – but almost always had shitty steeped tea with him.

At one point Shane went somewhere during his undercover operation here in Hamilton for approximately 6 months. Whether that was to actually be by his mom’s side in BC as she died, as he explained, or to infiltrate another community, we don’t know – but we strongly encourage those organizing around gentrification or pipelines to share his photo and any experiences they’ve had with him.

What we do know is that Shane isn’t the only undercover cop working throughout Turtle Island; if you’re doing anti-pipeline organizing or other rad organizing, then expect and plan for the possibility of this kind of infiltration and surveillance too. We know it can be tempting to dismiss or rationalize otherwise – but this isn’t just happening in the U.S.  or abroad. This isn’t just happening in BC. And it’s not just happening in the lead up to summits. The state is throwing their resources towards effective organizing against industry and the state – period.

Flags

Shane’s political analysis was lacking and never really evolved despite attending workshops and events. He’d often try to relay ideas or sentiments using common terms or slang, but out of context. The result was abrupt, unsettling interactions like a sudden proclamation of “I’m so glad I’ve found someone else who hates the pigs!”

He was also seen more than once hovering around an area or group of folks listening in on conversations, and when he returned from his “trip to BC” Shane could recognize and recall people’s names perfectly, whether they’d previously conversed much or not.

Afternote

Recently the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) released a great reflection on their experiences & reflections with an undercover in Toronto. It talks a bit more in depth about how some indicators may not be enough to warrant expulsion from a community, but certainly a good reason to get to know someone more. Importantly, it also talks about ways we might be able to identify and confirm undercover. It’s worth reading.

12 thoughts on “Shane: an undercover cop in Hamilton, ON”

  1. I would be wondering if he is actually City of Hamilton Police or rather CSIS/RCMP?
    In which case an alert to organizatins across the country might be in order

    1. The article says he’s Hamilton Police and that appears to be an HPS patch on his jacket. However, like the article says, that doesn’t mean he didn’t also travel to other communities. There were (or are) large-scale police operations involving multiple agencies for both pipelines and the G7, so it’s possible local cops who are already well placed could have been made use of in unusual ways. I think we need to take the possibility seriously that he really did travel to the west coast at some point and that he may have tried to participate in pipeline struggles there.

    1. It’s a prison insult, never really heard it be specific to sexuality.

      From Wikipedia:

      “In some parts of Canada, “goof” has been used in the prison system, mainly associated with child abusers and later used to describe sexual offenders of any sort. Sometimes, the inmate who has been called a “goof” must defend himself with physical violence against the inmate who called him that name. It also is used, especially in Canadian elementary and high schools, as a general (but particularly vicious) insult. “

      1. what a coincidence it was just last night watched a documentary where someone talked to an ex prisoner and he said he got an extra ten years for stabbing a guy and when asked why the heck you do that he said ’cause he was a goof you know a pedo. shocked me at the time since I only heard it said in the grade school usage meaning just a fuckin idiot. new meaning to the term ‘goof off’ then guess it means wanker literally.

        as for the topic at hand, socially awkward and don’t fit in at the few events I go to but hope that authentic shy people don’t creep out the team in quite the same way the infiltrating cops do. I would hope their disingenuous intent shows through. heres hoping you all stay safe =)

    2. no. goof is actually a prison term. it could be used 2 ways. 1- calling a pedophile a pedophile or 2 which I believe is this context, just the lowest form of bottom feeding human being whome you loath to the their very core because they are an absolute piece of shit 🙂

  2. was it necessary to out a trans woman instead of just saying he met with another woman allegedly from dundas? her build is not useful to the story, so whoever wrote this just wanted to out her and i think that’s really shitty

    1. I don’t believe the person was trans, just that she was a muscular woman. The writer was probably trying to avoid gendering someone whose gender identity they didn’t know. Providing a physical description might be useful for people who could have been introduced to this person by Shane.

    2. No, the intent of describing her this way was obviously to convey the impression that she was an undercover pig. So people NOT ‘getting’ that here — and thus moving to divert attention away from the important issues under discussion — is at the VERY least, unprofessional and divisive. Not to mention petty.

      This here is a good ‘in-the-wild’ example of why ‘Identity Politics’ is objectively and clearly so incredibly divisiveness; and just one more example of why I myself could never be an anarchist.

      1. Your second paragraph is also quite trollish, lol. But I’m just gonna ignore it and focus on the argument you made in the first paragraph. Because reading people generously rather than just reacting to what you don’t like is how we learn from different perspectives, eh?

Leave a Reply to Kaneda Jones Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.