Reposted from Olympia Jail Support
Phil Darrow first came to our attention in November when he began contacting arrestees through social media asking for specific details of the events where they were arrested. We were immediately concerned about a stranger asking people about details of open court cases. As non legal professionals who do jail and court support we are very careful not to discuss with defendants the circumstances of their arrests or cases, because it puts both them and us at legal risk. At this time, Darrow also asked people to put him in touch with others in the activist community who might be able to supply him with more information about arrests and other events. His line of questioning, and the pushy and insistent tone of his requests raised serious red flags for us, to the point that we now find it necessary to warn our larger community about this worrisome behavior.
Since November Darrow has:
- Pressured multiple community members to give information about other protestors or their involvement in protests.
- Presented himself as/insinuated he is a lawyer or legal professional. No one in the state of WA with his name is licensed to practice law.
- Introduced himself as a Private Investigator while no one with his name is licensed in WA as a PI.
- Presented alliances and working relationships with established projects in the region to gain access to info. These working relationships were not found to be real.
- Routinely sent overwhelming amounts of messages to people he is trying to gain information from; at times the messages are curt or alarmingly threatening in their tone.
Darrow has often presented himself as some sort of antifascist researcher or someone working to hold police accountable, although he remains vague and unclear about what his end goal is. Darrow often speaks as “we”, when who he is working with or for is not disclosed, and Olympia Jail Support and others have been unable to verify many of his personal claims. In reality, much of his probing has turned toward comrades, anarchists, and antifascists, and Darrow uses this cover of helping the movement as a smoke screen to gather information.
Phil Darrow presents a risk to the broader protest community in both his methods and unclear intentions. It is always unsafe to communicate the circumstances that lead to your arrest with anyone but your lawyer, but Darrow has been demanding that information and more with no clear objective. This is an unsafe practice.
Never speak about the details of your criminal case with anyone but your lawyer; and if your lawyer is asking you to speak with anyone you don’t feel comfortable with or is raising red flags as this situation is for us—finding new council is always an option. If anyone asks you about your political involvement or involvement in street actions; remind them that good security keeps our entire community safe.
You can always contact Olympia Jail Support at [email protected] if you are approached or questioned about your legal case by someone who shouldn’t be asking.
We take care of us.