The Black Lives Matter movement was sparked in protest of the alarming number of shooting deaths undertaken by police against Black people. Recently unsealed documents show that the NYPD was successful in going undercover and infiltrating the ranks of the group to the point of being included in internal discussions and text chain conversations.
The Guardian exclusively reports:
The records, produced in response to a freedom of information lawsuit led by New York law firm Stecklow & Thompson, provide the most detailed picture yet of the sweeping scope of NYPD surveillance during mass protests over the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and 2015. Lawyers said the new documents raised questions about NYPD compliance with city rules.
The documents, mostly emails between undercover officers and other NYPD officials, follow other disclosures that the NYPD regularly filmed Black Lives Matter activists and sent undercover personnel to protests. The NYPD has not responded to the Guardian’s request for comment or interview.
Emails show that undercover officers were able to pose as protesters even within small groups, giving them extensive access to details about protesters’ whereabouts and plans. In one email, an official notes that an undercover officer is embedded within a group of seven protesters on their way to Grand Central Station. This intimate access appears to have helped police pass as trusted organizers and extract information about demonstrations.
The revelation of this secret investigation comes on the eve of the issuing of the so-called “Levi Guidelines,” a measure enacted by former Attorney General Edward H. Levi in 1976 that removed the FBI’s right to perform COINTELPRO-like investigations without proper evidence.
While the Black Lives Matter organization has not been linked to any criminal activity, police officials and conservative pundits across the nation have criticized and accused the group of stirring dissent among citizens and legal authorities.