How a 50 year-ish deputy sheriff infiltrated Anarchist organization

'Anarchist' looked like someone's mom

Comment: From the Star Tribune. Worthwhile read. Star Tribune links disappear after a while so read it while it is available.


On Aug. 31, 2007, Marilyn Hedstrom, who appeared to be in her early 50s, walked into a run-down store-front where anarchists hung out on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis.

She introduced herself as Norma Jean.

Asked by a man at the Jack Pine Center why she was there, she said she had issues with President Bush and the Iraq war. "I told him I was interested in helping the cause and interested in participating in the protesting,"


What she did not tell him is that she was a deputy sheriff for the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. Along with two other undercover sheriff's operatives and an FBI informer, she had been assigned to infiltrate the RNC Welcoming Committee, which was planning street blockades at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

She went "dumpster diving" at the group's instructions to find food for the anarchists to eat. She cooked meals for some meetings, ran errands, coordinated committee discussions and represented the organization at some gatherings of the protest movement. She became friends of some of the activists. And she, ironically, even helped on security for the anarchists, who worried that the cops were infiltrating them.

For a year Deputy Hedstrom led a double life as Norma Jean Johnson, filing her recollections, often daily, with the Special Investigations Unit, as did the other operatives.


"Norma Jean looked like somebody's mom," recalls Meredith Aby, a member of the Anti-War Committee, a group that occasionally met with the anarchists. "She was treated by the Welcoming Committee as if she were one of their own."

Betsy Raasch-Gilman, 56, who helped raise money with Hedstrom on the Welcoming Committee, said they sometimes discussed family and grandchildren. "To this day, I don't know how much was put-on and how much was real," she said. Raasch-Gilman learned that Hedstrom was undercover after court documents were filed

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