How To Spot An Undercover Cop At A Protest - RATTER
Big Jackets: Cops have to carry a lot of tools for their job. At the very least a badge, gun, handcuffs, and often a bullet proof vest. Those are just some bulky items to effectively conceal and cops—who are primarily trained to draw from the hip—will often keep their gun on their waist for a quick draw. To conceal their guns in colder weather officers must layer thoughtfully. Thick hoodies (often sports themed), fleece/vest combos and large Carhartt-type jackets are typically par for the course.
Mixed Races/Sexes: Sadly this is a big indicator. Rarely in America do you see two middle-aged men of different ethnic backgrounds who look like bros attending a protest or roaming the streets together. Another red flag could be an older couple attending the protest that doesn’t quite seem like they fit in.
Hoods/Sports Apparel: Undercovers truly do love hoodies and sports-themed clothing. American protesters (typically hating the man and all) usually are not too interested in professional athletics.
Hiking Boots, Military Boots or Sneakers: As counterintuitive as it may seem, you’re probably not going to find officers trying to infiltrate demonstrations or the streets wearing Vans or Clarkes. Military style boots, hiker boots and sneakers are going to be the shoe selection in most instances. Think: your weird uncle who hunts or is really into baseball.
Bad Jeans/Cargo Shorts: Really, bad pants in general. If they are jeans, they will look like dad jeans. If the cops are not wearing jeans, look for cargo pants/shorts as this is their primary choice of lower extremity bodywear. The pockets allow officers to store all the other things they carry with them.
Face Masks: Protesters will often wear masks to conceal their identities but a good protester knows they should conceal not just the bottom half of their face, but the upper half of their head as well. Most protesters will use a bandana as opposed to a fancy face warmer. The half-mask allows officers to quickly show their face when they need to make a swift arrest.
Good haircuts: Protesters rarely have up-to-date haircuts or traditional hairstyles. A good haircut combined with any of the other indicators should make you a little suspicious.
Bulge: Undercover cops may like to think they have always have a huge bulge below their belt, but the bulge you need to be worried about is the one on their actual beltline. It’s easiest to spot when the suspected undercover cop is in motion or turning the upper-half of his body around. The bulge you’re looking for will be where a gun would be. Also be on the lookout for the tip-slip—the tip of his gun poking out from underneath his upperwear.
[Not pictures] On the phone: In this picture you won’t see officers on their phones coordinating with their supervisors, but they probably were just before they pulled a gun on whoever snapped the photo. That’s typical plainclothes protocol. A few officers in the thick of it coordinating with backup or a supervisor elsewhere. It’s worth noting officers will mostly use Android devices and can rarely be seen using iPhones. Simple headphones are also another tool undercovers will use so they can actually have a radio in their ears without appearing to have a radio in their ears.
[Not pictured] Bad Tattoos: While we can’t see it in this photo, it’s almost certain that one of these two fellas has some sort of tattoo and it’s probably something tribal. Look for those, but be careful. Tribal could go two ways: hippy-tribal or macho-tribal. You want to be worried about the latter.

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