A plainclothes policeman who infiltrated the Youth International Party has claimed that Yippies planned in advance to riot and provoke police attacks on them during the Democratic National Convention.
Robert L. Pierson said he was given a leave to serve as an investigator for the state’s attorney’s office, won the Yippies’ confidence and became bodyguard for Jerry Rubin.
Pierson, 25, said he guarded Rubin from Sunday afternoon, August 25th, until Wednesday afternoon, August 28th, when his identity was discovered in a chance meeting with a member of the Blackstone Rangers, who recognized him.
As a result of Pierson’s work, officials knew in advance what the Yippies were planning.
Pierson related that after he received permission from the Cook County—Chicago state’s attorney’s office riot control unit to attempt to infiltrate the Yippies, he grew a beard for six days, rented a motorcycle and rode into Lincoln Park on Monday. The Yippies generally operated out of the North Side park and it was the scene of a number of violent exchanges between them and police early in the week.
The police said he came to the attention of Rubin by breaking up fights among hippies three times on Monday. It was then that Rubin assigned Pierson as bodyguard.
It was on Monday, too, Pierson said, that Rubin entrusted him with his personal diary of Yippie plans and told him to hold on to it at all costs.
Pierson said he later excused himself by telling Rubin he had to go to a washroom in the park. Instead, he said, he “picked a fight” with a fellow cop and was arrested. While in detention, the undercover officer said, he identified himself, turned over the diary and gave Chicago police details of Yippie plans for Monday night in the park area.
After his release, through Rubin’s intercession with a Legal Aid Bureau attorney, Pierson told Rubin he had destroyed the diary when arrested rather than have it fall into the hands of the police.
With information from the diary, Rubin was arrested Wednesday night in the downtown area and charged with solicitation to commit mob action, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was released on $25,000 bond Thursday night.
When arrested and confronted by Pierson, Rubin said, “Well, at least he was a good bodyguard.”
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“That week in Chicago will be a living theater of America. King will be there, also Gregory, also Spock and the peace movement. The Democrats will probably have to travel from hotel to convention hall by helicopter. Johnson will be nominated under military guard, under the protection of bayonets and the Army. Even if Chicago does not burn, the paranoia and guilt of the government will force them to bring thousands of troops, and the more troops, the better the theater.
“A lot of troops will have to stay and watch us (long hair freaks them out), diverting troops from the black community. And the yippies, being wanderers, will be all over the city.
“Lyndon Johnson and his Democratic Party gang cannot rule this country—it is becoming clearer every day. The choice is between the life of American youth or of the American Establishment. For those who don’t see that now, Chicago will be an eye-opener.
—Jerry Rubin, the Fifth Estate, April 1-15, 1968