Memphis PD (265595)

News source claim that the Memphis Police Dept. has a file dedicated to Black Lives Matter and other Black activists. Keedan Franklin, one area activist, in fact told the Guardian at demonstrations he attends, he’s often the first person arrested. He also says that often police sit outside of his office in unmarked cars. In addition, in public, cops who Franklin has never met will walk up to him and call him by name. Franklin and his attorney, Scott Kramer, say that the officers all know who he is. Documents that were released by the city late last month (July) shows that its police department has been systematically using bogus social media profiles to monitor local activists, especially those with Black Lives Matter, and that it kept dossiers and detailed power point presentations on dozens of Memphis area activists along with lists of their known associates. No name is more prevalent in the documents than that of 32-year old Franklin, who has become a veteran organizer with the Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens and Black Lives Matter causes over the past few years. It’s “saddening” and “a little scary at times,” he told the Guardian, while finding a touch of humor in it, too. “Doing all that for this ol’ poor Black guy from south Memphis,” Franklin said. The surveillance project was operated through the Memphis police department’s office of homeland security, which officials said was “originally designed to deal with threats to the MPD or Memphis in general.” But in a deposition for a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the information gathering, officials said it had “retooled” around 2016 due to the groundswell of policing-related protests and began to focus on “local individuals or groups that were staging protests.” This included the publication of daily joint information briefings on potential protests and known protesters. According to the ACLU’s lawsuit, the briefings regularly included information about meetings on private property, panel discussions, town halls and even innocuous events such as “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.” In one case, the Bob Smith pseudonym was apparently used to collect information on all the Facebook users who had liked a post made by an activist referencing Saul Alinsky, a radical-left organizer. The briefings, which contained sensitive information including 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 region’s largest employer, FedEx, and the county school district. MPD also produced PowerPoint slideshows for police trainees on protesters such as Franklin and known close associates, including some who had never been arrested at any protest or accused of breaking any laws.