CLEVELAND - We are getting our first look inside the Occupy Cleveland movement. NewsChannel5 exclusively obtained video of the recording by an independent documentary producer. One of the central characters in the video is Connor Stevens. He identifies himself in the video as an Occupy Cleveland participant.
In the video, Stevens is recorded as saying, "It's been really good, there's been a lot of stress and frustration but all around it's been a really good experience. Within the first day there was so much information that my mind was boggled. My favorite part is meeting people walking down the street, average people, talking to them, hearing about how they're affected by the economy, by the justice system, things like that..."
But now, the justice system has caught up with Stevens. He's at the center of what the FBI called a national security threat. He's one of the five people charged with attempting to blow up local the Route 82 bridge in last week over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Brecksville and Sagamore Hills.
Prosecutors said the group bought their fake explosives from undercover FBI agents who were working with an undercover informant in the group.
Brelin Stevens said that informant pressured her brother, Connor, who isn't violent. Brelin also told NewsChannel5 Monday her brother felt very threatened.
But in the interview recorded last fall, Stevens is heard describing a past conversation with a friend. Stevens suggested he's changed his view about using violence to achieve the goals of the group.
"We were saying two years before that we would have been kicking out windows and stuff like that. Back in like 2008, I was at that state of mind and now I'm understanding that we're in it for the long haul and those kind of tactics just don't cut it. And it's actually harder to be non-violent than it is to do stuff like that," Stevens said.
A detention hearing was postponed Monday for Stevens and the other four men. They will remain held without bond.