Former Jacksonville 'occupier' lashes out over FBI probe
Updated On: Dec 29 2012 07:54:46 AM EST
In northeast Florida, the Occupy Movement was targeted as part of an FBI investigation. Now, a former "occupier" is lashing out.
For weeks, Bill Guerrant and others camped out at Jacksonville City Hall. Internal documents reveal Homeland Security deemed the group a "potential terrorist threat."
"Well I think it’s ridiculous," said Guerrant. "I think it’s ironic that the FBI would be concerned about a homegrown movement, that is, Americans that care about our country, care about our system."
Guerrant said he's troubled that counter-terrorism agents monitored protests across the country, even holding a briefing in Jacksonville to recommend setting up trip wires with Occupy event organizers.
"I mean it was all right there in front of them," said Guerrant. "There wasn’t anything hide, and to put a trip wire down when they’re streaming all over the united states, that’s just a waste of money."
The FBI released a statement saying it recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in peaceful protests, but must also take precautions. Something Channel 4 Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson believes is understandable.
"If they get a notion, an intuition, a lead or just a thought that these groups could be more radical than they think, then it becomes the FBI’s responsibility to act on that no matter how they receive it," said Jefferson.
Some civil rights groups are still upset calling it a violation of the constitution. The FBI stands behind the decision to deal with any potential threat of violence.
Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.