The CHP drew intense criticism last week after what the agency describes as two plainclothes officers were outed and attacked by a crowd of protestors in Oakland, with one reportedly fearing for his life and aiming a gun at the crowd. About 50 people were protesting police brutality and racial injustice on December 10th at 11:30 p.m. when the CHP officers, reportedly dressed as protesters with bandannas covering faces, were identified and the incident took place.

Now CBS 5 and the Chronicle are reporting that Oakland police were unaware of the presence of "plainclothes" CHP officers on the evening of the 10th, even though the CHP claims that they have been using plainclothes officers since protests began with approval from the Oakland and Berkeley police departments.

Oakland Police Sargent Holly Joshi told the Chronicle that “We knew CHP was there,” but "were unable to locate anyone who knew about the undercover portion.”

On Twitter, protesters have alleged that the CHP officers in question had acted as agent provocateurs, instigating vandalism, but Avery Browne, chief of CHP’s Golden Gate Division, denounced such claims. Also, although witnesses say the officer wielding a gun did not display his badge, Browne said the officer in fact did, as per CHP policy.

As Phil Matier of KCBS and the Chronicle points out, arrangements like the one gone wrong last week are usually of mutual benefit. It's easier for the CHP to make mass arrests with the OPD deferring to them because in the event of protestors blocking the highway the CHP has authority to arrest everyone. By contrast, it’s harder for the OPD to make arrests as they have to issue an order to demonstrators to disperse first.

Yet it's a tricky situation, as civil rights attorney Jim Chanin says. If Oakland police had been made aware of the presence of CHP officers, the department would have then been in violation of a policy prohibiting officers "from providing mutual aid from being in front-line positions unless in a public emergency."

The officer photographed drawing his weapon is on active duty while his partner is recovering from injuries.