Memphis police accused of using fake accounts to surveil black activists
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: August 13th, 2018
A trove of documents released by the city of Memphis late last week appear to show that its police department has been systematically using fake social media profiles to surveil local Black Lives Matter activists, and that it kept dossiers and detailed power point presentations on dozens of Memphis-area activists. The surveillance project was operated through the Memphis police departments office of homeland security. In a deposition for a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over the information gathering, officials said it ... began to focus on local individuals or groups that were staging protests [around 2016]. This included the publication of daily joint information briefings on potential protests and known protesters. The briefings regularly included information about meetings on private property, panel discussions, town halls, and even innocuous events like Black Owned Food Truck Sunday. A good deal of that information appears to have been obtained by a fake MPD Facebook profile for a Bob Smith, which the ACLU said was used to view private posts, join private groups, and otherwise pose as a member of the activist community. The briefings, which contained ... photographs, dates of birth, addresses, and mental health histories were distributed beyond the department according to the ACLU lawsuit, to a number of local businesses including the regions largest employer FedEx and the county school district.