MPD ignores Monitor, abuses woman

portrait2
Maureen Spain

Maureen Spain is a busy soccer mom and a nurse who finds time to engage in local issues.   We encountered Ms Spain several times before.   She was arrested at the Greensward on Memorial Day 2016, by Richard Rouse who was looking for brownie points for promotion to sergeant.   The day following her arrest, she was placed on an Authorization of Agency by the vengeful Zoo, even though she had not set foot on Zoo property that day. She took the case of her arrest to CLERB.

Ms Spain was recently detained, cuffed, physically abused and transported by cops who told her, during the abuse session, that they “love the Zoo”.    We have full details of this incident, but first some background.

Maureen_AoAWe previously documented the City’s use of AoA as a tool for political harassment.  Among the over 2100 MPD victims of this irregular procedure, we highlighted five AoAs which were clearly part of ongoing political harassment at MPD, continued brazenly even while the Court Monitor is examining such issues.   The most recent political AoA was Rodney Fisher’s from July 25th 2019, well after Monitor’s appointment.

* Author’s note:  I was arrested with Ms. Spain and am also named on the same AoAs as she.

Authorization of Agency as political harassment

Ms. Spain has the distinction of being on the first political AoA that we know about.  She was also on the AoA for the December 19th 2016 die-in protest at the Mayor’s house, which resulted in the City Blacklist.   More than forty people were on this AoA, even though it was well known that no more than a dozen people participated in the Die-In.   The majority of those blacklisted were there as political opponents of Mayor Strickland’s regime.    The abuse of AoAs continued with another Zoo AoA, Dan Rosson’s at Memphis Animal Shelter and the aforementioned Rodney Fisher AoA with video.

We have documented AoA as a means of harassing those suffering lack of housing and other disenfranchised citizens.   AoA remained unreported for at least ten years before its 2017 exposure with the City Blacklist.   AoA as a secret police weapon seemed ideal when the City was mulling retaliation against the Greensward prisoners, so it is not surprising that MPD would add it to its arsenal of unconstitutional attack tools.

AoA is not the only harassment method used by MPD.  Hunter Demster, Antonio Blair,  Keedran Franklin and many others have been surveilled or arrested in recent years.   Ms Spain herself, with numerous other activists, was featured in Joint Intelligence Bulletins as documented in the Kendrick trial documents.

Doc_A_p_186_Personalize
Joint Intelligence Bulletin from Kendrick trial documents.  The “reliable source” was Bob Smith

Ms Spain, whose most recent political involvement was “just a day in the park”, was dialed in to Detective Tim Reynold’s paranoid conspiracy theory centered on Saul Alinsky’s book.   This is part of a pattern of harassment which continued from May 2016 to August 2019,  even while the Court Monitor was watching.

 

August 30th 2019 at Paradiso Cinema

On August 30th, Maureen Spain organized a birthday outing for her son and some of his early teen friends.   She had a slight buzz on from a two glasses of wine earlier that day, and used a rideshare instead of driving to the Paradiso.   At the theater, after a discussion with staff over their policy of not allowing children access to the movie, security guard Ray Daughtry dialed 911 and at least seven MPD officers responded:  David Osborne, Martin Nolan, Lenette Otis, James Dolan, Chase Bates, Breana Johnson and Ryan Walker.   Osborne and Nolan identified themselves to Ms Spain and the others are listed in the 911 Call Log (PDF) of the event.   Audio of the 911 call is here. (WAV file).

According to the 911 log Ms Spain was detained at 8:28 PM, placed in custody at 8:51 PM, and she was transported at 9:25.   As Ms Spain was never arrested, she was detained, cuffed and locked in the back of a cruiser at the Paradiso for a total of 57 minutes, and a further thirteen minutes while being transported.  Normal police procedures require that detention at a location should be resolved within “about” 20 minutes, by release, transportation for further detention or arrest.

Ms Spain wrote a first-person account (PDF) of the incident.

Cuffed in the Cruiser.

Ms Spain was jumped by Malco Paradiso security guard Ray Daughtry, who detained her and handcuffed one wrist.  Officers Nolan and Osborne made the scene, placed handcuffs on Ms. Spain very tightly behind her back and sat her in the back of their cruiser.   MPD’s Peerless-brand police handcuffs have a pawl and ratchet mechanism which allows the cuffs to get tighter with movement, but never looser.   Being forced to sit on a pair of cuffs in an enclosed space in the back of a car is very uncomfortable, and every movement makes the cuffs tighter.   If the police are being nice, they can insert a key and lock the ratchet so that the cuffs stay in place and don’t get tighter.    These cops were not being nice that evening.

The two detaining officers videoed Ms Spain’s writhing in agony and made video of her through the opening in the partition.    At one point, one of the officers said that he “loved the zoo”, tying the incident to the MPD harassment of Ms Spain, which had been ongoing  for more than three years.   At another point, one of the officers offered to loosen her cuffs, but took them off and replaced them even tighter, savagely twisting them and her wrists.

During the 57 minutes of Ms. Spain’s torture, her son and his friends waited on the curb until one of the other parents came to pick them up, so the kids were forced to see their mother’s mistreatment.

Ms Spain Transported.

Maureen Spain was transported at 9:29 and arrived at the MMHI Crisis Center at 9.42.  The transporting officers were given as Lenette Otis, Chase Bates and James Dolan.  She was finally uncuffed at 9:52 and released from the Crisis Center after a couple of hours.    Although the 911 log ends with an indicated arrest, she was never charged in relation to the incident and no court records were filed.

As Ms Spain had previously been targeted as a political figure, the investigation was one likely to result in political intelligence being revealed, but we do not believe that the detaining officers had permission from the Police Director to conduct this investigation.

Maureen Spain’s injuries.

The above photos show bruising on Maureen Spain’s shoulder area and fingerprint bruises on her upper right arm, and her wrist swollen, welted, bruised and abraded by the handcuffs.  Photos taken Sept 1st 2019.

20190904_105054She also had a very large bruise on her upper arm, which came up later, this photo taken on Sept 4th.

Ms. Spain also suffered nerve damage to her hands and wrists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–concluded–

 

 

 

 

 

Authorization of Agency Update

We wrote about Authorization of Agency (AoA) last year, providing source data, collations and some analysis of almost 1,700 Authorization of Agency reports, obtained by public records request from Memphis Police Department (Est 1827).

We recently received another 473 AoA forms covering July 2018 to July 2019.   We collated the data in a spreadsheet, which is available on Google Docs, or downloadable as Open Office or MS Excel formats.   Each row of these files contain a link to a .PDF document containing a scanned copy of the original AoA and the page number to look in this .PDF.  The entire corpus may be downloaded here.

These data are provided for free under the GNU open source agreement.  Please let us know of any errors or bad links.

What is AoA?

Authorization of Agency is an off-the-books system carried in 3-ring binders in the cruisers attached to a given ward, as copies of the original form.   A ward is a subdivision of an MPD precinct.  It violates Tennessee trespass law, has no due process, entraps children as young as eleven, and is unsupported by MPD’s policy and procedures manual, the MPD Academy curriculum or the official computer systems at MPD.

Because the process is off the books, there are no systemic checks for typos, accuracy, completeness or readability.   All records are maintained in the original, handwritten state as photocopies or faxes.

We have found a mention of AoA as early as 2007.  Our original AoA report traces rapid increases in the use of AoA from around 2011, the start of Amy Weirich’s tenure at the DA’s office.  The use of AoA reached a peak of almost 600 in 2017 and has remained high since.     The rise, from just a few in 2011 to the 2017 high suggests that a marketing campaign, spearheaded by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and the DA’s office, was in place throughout Weirich’s time as prosecutor.

AoA as political weapon.

AoA, as an off-the-books system of sanctions, was used for years as a method of rousting “undesirables” from business premises.  As such, the poor and disenfranchised victims had little recourse.

MPD started using AoA as a political weapon when two Greensward protesters were secretly placed on an AoA by the Zoo in summer of 2016.

Then, following a “die-in” protest at the Mayor’s house, 43 politically active individuals were placed on an AoA, for an event which had at most a dozen attendees.   This was the basis of the City blacklist and subsequent Federal case.

Later, in 2017, an additional AoA at the Zoo listed two individuals and resulted in a confrontation with police, but no arrests.   Neither of the two Zoo AoAs were notified to the listed individuals, in violation of the procedure specified on the AoA form.   In addition, a forgery was committed as proven by a form which had a second subject added over the same signature.   This addition of subjects happened in several AoAs in the 2018 corpus.

In 2019, an animal welfare activist, Dan Rosson, was placed on an AoA after incurring the wrath of City COO, Doug McGowan and officials at the Animal Shelter.

Later, in the summer of 2019, industrial activist Rodney Fisher, was functionally fired from his contract logistics job by an MPD officer sent to his house.  Fisher captured video of the event, implicating a senior MPD officer in the process.

With the addition of two new politically-motivated AoAs in 2019, a clear pattern of the abuse of this off-the-books system as reprisals for political actions emerges.

First look at the AoAs.

MPD have started writing a new version of the AoA form, still titled AA0306, but containing much more data and appearing to be the result of a booking-style process, with fingerprints and photographs.   We saw one outlier in April and several starting in June 2019.

sample_new_aoa_redactedAs you can see from the sample pictured, which is redacted, the new form records police report and booking numbers, drivers license, address, date of birth.  Before, it was just name and physical characteristics.

This form has the appearance of something that was produced by a booking process.  The legality of police fingerprinting and photographing a person who is not being booked for a crime is questionable, and holding sensitive information in a file which is public record may also be a HIPPA issue.

We redacted personally identifying information for this illustration, although that information is in the database as released by MPD as public records.

Race Analysis

MPD categorizes everyone by race.  Only eleven AoAs, less than three percent of the total, did not track the subject by race.
race_pie_chart

So we went ahead and graphed it.  83% of respondents were African American, two percent fewer than the 2018 report.

Whites represented 14% of the total, up two percent from last time.

There were a total of 12 Asian, LatinX and Other individuals.

In view of the over-representation of African Americans in the AoAs, this may provide evidence of MPD’s racial profiling.

Age

We noticed an individual as young as eleven years of age on an AoA in the 2018 report, so this time we collected age, where it was given in the AoA.  This time, the youngest were two individuals aged 13, two more aged 14, eleven aged 15, fourteen aged 16 and nineteen aged 17.   These 48 individuals were too young to be charged with a crime, and a quasi criminal process like AoA may not be appropriate for juveniles.

Age was not given in 23 cases.   The oldest was one individual aged 78, there were five people over seventy and seventeen in their sixties.

AoAs by Officer

Some were curious about the distribution of AoAs by officer.  We found that the 473 AoAs were distributed by 220 officers, including three postal police, so a little more than 10% of cops use AoAs.   Seventeen AoAs had no police signature, in violation of the procedure outlined on the form itself.

The 49 most prolific officers wrote three or more AoAs for a total of 231, roughly half the total number.  Officer M. Lester wrote eleven, followed by J Holmes with ten, and the leading 17 cops with six or more AoAs wrote a total of  123, more than a quarter of the total.

AoAs as reprisal, harassment or punishment

We wrote in 2018 how the Mayor placed 43 individuals on an AoA for his property in retaliation for a “die-in” protest in which no more than a dozen people participated.  Lieut Bonner of the City Hall detail added a stricture that the “A-list” people were to be escorted while in City Hall.   The rest is history.

We also documented the existence of two AoAs at the Zoo, with Maureen Spain and Fergus Nolan being banned from this public facility a couple of days after their May 2016 arrest at the zoo, against whom no crime was committed.   An additional AoA was issued for Fergus Nolan and Hunter Demster at the Zoo in 2017 on another occasion where no crime was charged.   On these two occasions, the police used the AoA as a political weapon on behalf of themselves or others.   (Author’s note:  I was on all three of the AoAs mentioned above. )

In our new dataset, we include two AoAs of which we had written before:

Dan Rosson was targeted by City Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowan and other city and Memphis Animal Services officials after he blew the whistle on conditions at the Pound.  His AoA is page 1 of this file. (PDF).

Rodney Fisher was discussing conditions for contract workers at a logistics warehouse when he was  informed by a cop who came to his house that he was effectively fired via AoA.  His is on page 3 of this file. (PDF).   There is video of the event as captured by Mr. Fisher on his doorstep.

It seems that MPD has a pattern of harassing not only generally disadvantaged individuals with AoA, but there is also a pattern of AoA use by police as a reprisal for political action and views of which they disapprove, and this is tied in to the keeping of files and social media snooping on activists.

Data description

#: is an arbitrary number
Business: Name of the business
Street#, Street: as labeled
Business Catg:  Type of business
Surname, First Name: as labeled
Race:  As described by MPD
Date:  Date of AoA as signed by police
Source file See Page:  Clickable link to the .PDF scan of the AoA
# Pages:  Number of AoA pages in the source file
Page:  The page number of this AoA in the file
Note: There is additional information on the AoA.   This and the following fields are newly added since the 2008 version of the spreadsheet
Count:  it is always 1
Station:   MPD station originating the AoA
Ward:  A ward is a subdivision of a police precinct.  We captured it when available
Officer:  Name and IBM# of the cop who witnesses the AoA, when decipherable
Age: Age of the AoA recipient.

–concluded–

 

Sawyer and the SCSD Armored Truck

Nashville_Bearcat
A LENCO Bearcat owned by Nashville Metro Police SWAT team (Wikipedia)

Tami Sawyer, in her Shelby County Commission role, moved two motions on December 3rd, 2018, to secure a Lenco Bearcat armored truck for the Shelby County sheriff’s department.

We received the following documents from the County via Open Records request.

Motion moved by Tami Sawyer (PDF) to accept $196,038 from FEMA towards the purchase of the armored vehicle.

Motion moved by Tami Sawyer (PDF) to spend $261,384 on the LENCO. This includes the FEMA grant above and an additional $65,346 in taxpayer funds.

 

County Mayor Lee Harris signed off (PDF) on this purchase on December 10th.

MPD Armored Vehicles.

The County has no armored vehicles.   MPD has two, a Bear, also made by LENCO, owned by the TACT unit and a military surplus MRAP.  We were able to find only one incident where the MRAP was used for a forcible entry.   The TACT team prefers to use a dark green walk-thru van for forcible entries.

All other deployments of MPD armored vehicles have been for the intimidation of protesters, twice at Gracelend in Summer of 2016, at least once in 2017 against #TakEmDown protesters, and three times at Overton Park in April and May of 2016.

Ferguson, BLM and the use of armored vehicles.

The events of 2014 in Ferguson, following the police killing of Michael Brown, featured police armored vehicles and advanced weapons.   This stirred reaction, from groups including Black Lives Matter and ACLU, about the abuse of armored vehicles.

As Wikipedia relates: “In a 2013 piece in the newsletter of the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), COPS Senior Policy Analyst Karl Bickel warned that police militarization could seriously impair community-oriented policing. Bickel wrote that accelerating militarization was likely to alienate police relationship with the community, and pointed to a variety of factors that contribute to militarization…”.

In other words, even the police themselves claim that the militarization of police is the exact opposite to community policing.   And a rejection of police militarization is almost universal among supporters of ACLU and BLM, who form a large part of Tami Sawyer’s #TakeEmDown901 base.

Community Policing

tami_in_CA_901
Tami Sawyer (Photo:  The Commercial Appeal).

In Tami Sawyer’s platform, “Tami’s Criminal Justice Priorities:

  • Hire a trauma-informed Memphis Police Director, with the people of Memphis’s input, who a) has a track-record of implementing community policing tactics,…”.

This position is what is expected from someone who led an August 2017 protest at Health Sciences Park in which police attacked a peaceful protest and arrested several of her supporters.   Tami was also one of the first activists “friended”  by “Bob Smith” aka Sgt. Tim Reynolds as early as the summer of 2015.   This was documented in the 2018 “Kendrick” case which the ACLU won against the City.  Tami Sawyer should know about militarized policing from her direct experience.

Tami’s vote to increase the militarization of the Sheriff’s Department to the next level is the exact opposite of what she said about policing over the years.  Militarization of SCSD is also the exact, polar opposite of her Mayoral community policing platform.

Conclusion

Tami Sawyer transitioned from police prey to pro-police predator in the space of three months from taking office on the County Commission.  The cognitive dissonance is acute.

Her support of SCSD militarization is a slap in the face to her core supporters.

— concluded —

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Council Candidates Scored

caissa_group_shot
Paige Walkup, Gene Bryan, Mae Bennett (formerly Yearwood), Brian Stephens and Mary Joseph (formerly Tanner). Bennett has since left the company.

We reported on the behind-the-scenes manipulations of Caissa Public Strategy back in 2017.

Our identification of the Caissa Seven at the time had predictive value, although we overestimated Kemp Conrad’s Caissa spend at a time when some documents were unavailable at the Election Commission.
We also missed a year-end 2014 contribution of $500 by Caissa Public Strategy to Edmund Ford Jr.  We are sorry we missed that, as it would have pointed to his antics around the 2018 referendum.   Essentially Ford was another Caissa paeon, voting with the Caissa whip almost all the time especially on public safety issues.

Continue reading “2019 Council Candidates Scored”

MPD documents from ACLU Lawsuit.

truth_squad
In the witness room at the ACLU trial, from left: Spencer Kaaz, Earle Fisher, Keedran Franklin, Fergus Nolan, Paul Garner.  Photo and artwork by  Elaine Blanchard.  The book in the bottom left corner is my copy of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, which I bought just for the trial.

The 2018 lawsuit which ACLU fought and won has produced tens of thousands of pages of documents.

“On March 2, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee intervened in Blanchard v. City of Memphis, a lawsuit challenging the City of Memphis’ creation of a list of people, including multiple members of the Black Lives Matter movement and other local political activists and organizers, who require a police escort while visiting City Hall.”

ACLU won the case and a court monitor was tasked with supervising changes at MPD.  Documents from the case can be found on the ACLU website, the Court Monitor website, and on the City sitePACER contains all the publicly available documents from the case.  It requires a free registration and they will bill you after 150 pages in a quarter.   There are more documents here.

All those documents

We viewed the wealth of documents produced by the trial as the added bonus, over and above the effects of the judgement.   The documents offer a new and unique insight into the corrupt nature and practices at MPD.  But who had time to download and read through tens of thousands of pages of dry legalese?

To provide a narrative, and to avoid further torment to people already maligned in the police material, I provide a personalized romp through the papers focused on what they say about me.   The other people mentioned have given permission to use their mugshots.

The Saul Alinsky Thread

P177_alinsky_personalize

From Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 177.   This is from a section titled “Blue Suede Shoes Post-Investigation Follow-up”, about the August 2016 Graceland police riot.   I was not at Graceland for either of the two protests that July and August.

And I never read the Alinsky book.   But facts are not a requirement for a Joint Intelligence Bulletin.

These JIBs were circulated daily to law enforcement and to commercial firms in the Memphis area.   They have resulted in all sorts of problems to the people featured, including difficulty in finding employment.

Doc_A_p_186_Personalize

From Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 186.  This is from a section about the July 2016 Bridge protest.   I wasn’t at this protest either.   I was out on bail, with a long court date, from the Memorial Day Greensward arrest and I was avoiding protests on the advice of my attorney.   I have never met Dana Asbury, and I knew Spencer Kaaz and Maureen Spain casually from that Greensward protest.  We did not embarrass MPD and pit them against the citizens of Memphis.  MPD did that to themselves.

Paul Garner’s Book Review

Garner_and_alinsky

This post by Paul Garner of Mid South Peace and Justice Center was featured in an email by Det. Tim Reynolds AKA Bob Smith.   It is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 213.   Garner posted a book review, 58 people “liked” it and Reynolds included the Facebook avatars and names of all 58 in a JIB.  JIBs were widely circulated among law enforcement and a list of Memphis businesses.

This sheds light on the previous two images, both showing quotes from the Alinsky book.   The thing is, I have never read the book.   I ordered the book in August 2018 just before the trial, when I saw the above material.  While in the witness room during the ACLU trial, I made a point of carrying it around.   But I was never able to finish it.  The writing is poor and the insights trivial.

alinsky
Saul Alinsky in 1968 (Getty Images)

As this article in Vox, by Dylan Matthews explains, Alinsky was literally demonized by the far-right.  “(Ben) Carson explained (erroneously), Alinsky dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to none other than … Satan himself!”.  The book was dedicates to Alinsky’s mother.  Because Hillary Clinton wrote a thesis about Alinsky, and because  Rudy Giuliani attacked Barack Obama for being “educated in the Saul Alinsky methods.” Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Andrew Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Monica Crowley and Bill O’Reilly repeatedly ranted about Alinsky.

Bob Smith AKA Tim Reynolds is using coded far right ideology when they invoke Alinsky.   Never mind it was just a few people reading a book review, as protected by the First Amendment.

The truth of the matter is that Saul Alinsky was an old, non violent white man and we old, non violent white men are harmless and impotent.

At the Greensward.

FNandBS_redacted
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 222 to 251 lists 30 people Bob Smith friended  since July 2015.  Names of mutual friends are redacted.

Bob Smith friended me on Facebook in May 2016, the same month as Spencer Kaaz.   Prior to this, Bob Smith friended Tami Sawyer, Paul Garner, Ian Jeffries, Bradley Watkins and Athena Palmer between July and November 2015.  This time coincided with the killing of Darrius Stewart, the campaign to restart CLERB and Garner’s false arrest for photographing police at Manna House.

reliable_sources

This is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 178, in a section titled “Blue Suede Shoes”, a reference to the Graceland protests, which I did not attend.   The only group I was a member of at the time was Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which engages members of Congress on climate change policy.   That and the Greensward constituted my ‘radical agenda’.

The “reliable source” was far-right police infiltrator Tim Reynolds AKA Bob Smith.

fn_arrested

This is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 179.   It contains a lie.   I spent the entire morning taking photographs of the protest and the events preceding it.   I have 211 photos to prove this.  I never sat down or blocked Zoo officials, as the arrest ticket confirms.  Photographing police activities is protected by the first amendment and MPD photo policy.  At no point did any Greensward protest prevent a single visitor from accessing the Zoo, and Zoo attendance was up in the 2016 fiscal year ending June 30th 2016.   In fact, the Free Parking Brigade helped visitors find free parking in the area surrounding the Zoo and probably increased attendance.

ticket

This is from Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement page 180.   I was arrested while  I was “at the rear of the police van, attempting to take pictures”.  Bizarrely it goes on to say that I was arrested because the crowd started shouting after I was arrested.

IMG_1792
The Greensward, parking on the grass.   Photo:  Fergus Nolan

In any event, my case was dismissed and expunged so public officials should not be using these records and mugshots for any reason.

MPD used a conspiracy theory inspired by far-right media to imagine I and other dissidents were in some radical organization inspired by the hated Saul Alinsky, using the Zoo protest as a front.   They don’t seem to get it that saving a prime and priceless park is a legitimate end in itself.

In fact, contemporary police sources reveal, Maureen’s and my arrests were due to a police error.   All our activities on the Greensward were protected by the First Amendment.

Before my arrest, I cared about the environment and a patch of precious City grass.   Since being forcibly introduced to the workings of the criminal justice system, I have spent some time exposing its internal workings.   I have never been radicalized, as I work within the system and under the protection of the first amendment, but I have gone from a few hours per week in the Park to full time exposing corruption.   I did not choose MPD, they picked me.  And dozens of innocent people who care about our city.

My role in the Greensward

I was active in the Greensward movement.   I worked with the media operations, photographed events at the park; helped analyze the Zoo finances and distances traveled by Zoo visitors; and critique the Zoo’s Economic Impact Study.   I organized the Chuck Brady Limerick Competition and various weekend activities to help get crowds to the park in April and May.  I am admin of “The Fringe Element” facebook group.

The Greensward arrests.

Certain police sympathizers in the Park Protectors (Greensward) movement objected to comments I made in the social media.  I wrote about the massive police presence on April 2nd and 3rd when 75 officers, with armored vehicles, helicopters, horses, three paddy wagons and a command center, threatened peaceful park users at a cost of $38K.

IMG_1981.JPG
Black-clad paramilitary MPD officers with AR-15 ammo pouches, at Latino Fest on the Greensward, May 7th 2016, photo Fergus Nolan

I also wrote about the Latino festival in early May which was attended by TACT officers and their Lenco armored vehicle.    I also made other first amendment protected comments about MPD and police in general.

My work in the Greensward protests was only about the Greensward protest.

I have never been a police fan, and the police intimidation on the Greensward did not dispose me more kindly.  Growing up in Northside Dublin, we knew that “all pigs are scum” and I repeated this bon mot frequently.  After interacting with MPD I now realize that the Garda Siochana of my youth were not so bad.

In 2016, police sympathizers were highly mobilized in reaction to the 2015 City actions on reducing retiree benefits and after MPA president Mike Williams lost his run for Mayor.   These cop fans infiltrated the Greensward movement.

maureen_arrest
Maureen Spain is arrested 5/30/2016 Photo: The Commercial Appeal.

Kathy Hurley, a police fan and Mike Williams’ former campaign manager,  published a post with my photo and shared it with the MPA facebook page, saying that I intended to attack police at the Memorial Day protest, which was a complete lie.   Due to my immigration status I decided not to sit down at the protest and instead spent the morning taking photos.   Some cops apparently noticed me photographing the paddy wagon, recognized me from Hurley’s photo, and jumped me six or seven minutes before the end of a notice period that MPD Major Reynolds had given in an ultimatum.

IMG_2364
Officer Richard Rouse dispensing doughnuts at the “Cop Stop” before the protest.  Photo Fergus Nolan

Police fans had organized a “cop stop” for the protest.   The idea was to bribe the police at the protest with doughnuts so they would not intervene.   This hare-brained idea was countered when the police brass ordered their members not to attend the cop stop.    They made an exception by appointing Richard Rouse as “liaison” to the park protectors.  Rouse dispensed doughnuts, schmoozed with Park Protectors all morning, reported what he found to police brass and later arrested Maureen Spain.  This demonstrates the futility of community members engaging with police, even with doughnuts.

We spoke to people knowledgeable about MPD regulations, who said that, if the police suspected I had a weapon, they should have jumped me, patted me down, and cut me loose.   Instead, they over-reacted, disobeyed Rudolph’s order to wait out the deadline, and retaliated.

In short, I was arrested because police and their supporters objected to my first amendment protected speech.  It is legal to criticize the police.

Bob Smith appears.

bob_smithBob Smith friended me in May 2016.   After the May 30th arrests, the Park Protector groups were in uproar and many of them wanted more direct action.  As admin of “The Fringe Element”, I was worried about some people, including Bob Smith, who were openly advocating more direct action.   Not wanting to have people planning things in an open group, I created a secret Facebook group on June 5th entitled “Kessler Associates” and added Bob Smith and about six other people to the group.

It had been standard practice among Park Protectors in April to internally manage any direct action, because we were fighting a PR battle in the media and it took six or seven weeks to get the media mostly favorable to us.   We had a group of marshals trained by Mid South Peace and Justice Center and took militants off-line into secret groups to let off steam.  This kept the media focused on moms and kids with balloons, and the like.

Kessler Associates discussed some possible actions, and was mainly a way for people to let off steam.   The main actions discussed were a possible “slow drive” to jam up traffic already bottlenecked at the Zoo parking lot entrance.  These plans require secrecy to stay legal.    It is legal to drive up to the Zoo window and count out 500 pennies, but if it is part of a plan to obstruct the entrance to a business, maybe not.   A vehicle might break down in traffic and hold things up quite innocently unless it is planned.  In the event, this group broke up on June 15th without executing any action, because operational security had been breached and we could not maintain plausible deniability.

Reynolds_letter
Redacted letter from Tim Reynolds AKA Bob Smith.   From Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgement

Tim Reynolds literally tried to make a Federal case out of an idle comment about hacking the Zoo.  I did not say that I had recruited two hackers, because I hadn’t, and. in fact, there were no Federal or any other indictments arising from this group.   No crimes were committed during the 10 day lifetime of Kessler Associates, and no protests were organized.   No protests were needed because news coverage of the Memorial Day arrests had gone international during this time.  Our media operation was fully engaged.

I was aware of three other secret groups at the Greensward, none of which were infiltrated by Bob Smith.  Two of these group hosted early discussions about the Memorial Day protests, but the actual logistics were organized in physical meetings.  In fact, all three groups were dominated by police sympathizers and I was thrown out of them all more than a week before Memorial Day because I objected to the “Cop Stop” plan on the basis that no good can come from consorting with police.

The A-list discovered

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This letter was written by Officer Polk the day after I was told I needed an escort at City Hall.

Officer Polk, in the above memo, tried hard, after the fact, to create an offense to justify his action in requiring me to have an escort in City Hall.   The conversation I had with George Boyington was about the ineffective security at City Hall and how a determined effort to bring a weapon into the building would defeat the security.   The conversation with Boyington was overheard by Ursula Madden, the Mayor’s propagandist, but constituted free speech as no crime was contemplated and no provision of the First Amendment was violated.

There were no previous actions or threats towards the Mayor, and I was on the list because I had been falsely arrested at the Greensward because the police did not like my previous First Amendment speech directed at police.

As I wrote immediately after this notification, I was told I needed an escort because I was “on a list”.   When I asked why I was on the list, Lieut. Bonner was summoned and explained it was “because of the Mayor’s house”.    When I pointed out that I was not at the December 19th 2016 “Die-In”at the Mayor’s house, Bonner said “Then it was something you wrote on social media”.   As everything I wrote on social media was first amendment protected speech, I was listed and was being sanctioned in retaliation for first amendment speech.

I went home and wrote contemporary notes of the interaction, submitted an open records request for the list, notified the media and the rest is history.  Bruce Kramer called a meeting of blacklistees in his office, the Nashville office of ACLU became engaged and Blanchard et al, thanks to brilliant litigation by ACLU and a blustering defense by the City legal hacks, gave the people of Memphis the greatest legal win against the City since the original 1978 Kendrick consent decree.

In Summary

We saw how MPD, inspired by alt-right ideology, decided that literature fans were enemies of the state, created JIBs which slandered individuals and shared them with potential employers, accepted lies from their sycophantic supporters, breached training and discipline to arrest protesters without cause, lied about alleged crimes and escorted political opponents in City Hall in another breach of the First Amendment.

Mike Rallings sent an email to all his members in February 2017 explaining the first amendment.   He said that criticizing police is protected by the first amendment.   You’d think that the basic constitutional law of the nation would be the first thing they’d teach recruits at the academy.

I was lucky.   I was able to insulate myself against MPD slander by retiring a little early, but in the years following, dozens of City political opponents were followed, surveilled, arrested and slandered in JIBs circulated to potential employers.  Their worst “crimes” were using the First Amendment to assemble, march and speak out against injustice.  Harm was done to many young lives.

— concluded —

Thurston Smith: Liar, Bully and Worse.

Readers of our City Council Election blog may have noticed that, instead of writing about Thurston Smith, I inserted a legal disclaimer.   Now I can reveal the full story.

On the fifth of July I was served with a temporary Order of Protection (PDF) filed by Thurston Smith.   The order is a tissue of lies, but my attorney advised me not to post anything, and I don’t keep a dog and bark myself.   The protection order was lifted (PDF) and expunged (JPG) yesterday (July 29th 2019) and now I am free to post without the threat of jail time.

The provisions of the order were savage, with confiscation of weapons, compulsory anger management courses, payment of court costs and more.

SLAPP Suit

Updated 8/4/2019.  I received an email  from a friendly lawyer.

Wasn’t obtaining the Order of Protection the equivalent of a SLAPP suit?

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Wasn’t it also an abuse of process?

Lies

The first lie on the form is my height.   Smith peggged me at 5′ 7″.   The tallest I’ve ever been is 5′ 5 1/2″ and advancing age has reduced me to under 5′ 3″.

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The big lie here was that the February 24th event was private.   In fact, his announcement of candidacy for District 7 was clearly a public event.

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The Facebook event, which was posted on the public page MRYE: Memphis Raise your Expectations!!!, was marked “Public” and was widely circulated.   I replied “Going” as above, turned up at the door, signed in and was admitted.

Other lies:  “Petitioner stated that Fergus Nolan then located him through social media”. In fact, Thurston located me through social media, sent a friend request and contacted me through Facebook Personal Messengerin December 2018.  I still have records of this conversation.

He later called me, which is how I got his number.   I did not call him until June 28th.

Made Flyers.   Untrue.   I have not made a flyer since 2016.  If I want to make a flyer, I do one page with QR codes to reduce litter and paper wastage, and let people scan the QR with their phones.

I did not say “police hag”.   It would have been “Pighag” which is a movie starring Anna T. Schlegel.

“Began peeping through windows”.  Untrue.   I did not cross the zero lot line which is about 12 feet from the windows.

Pacing back and forth.   Not true.   I am mobility impaired and am economical with my movements.

Left after 20 minutes.   Not true.  I arrived at 4:40 PM, made a phone call at 4:45 and left at 4:47.    Seven minutes, confirmed by the timestamps on the photos I took.

“Petitioner is in fear for his life”.   At the announcement event, there were over 40 of his friends present, and I was unarmed and alone.   At his house, he was safely inside and I was again unarmed and alone.  He is not in fear for his life.   He is in fear of being exposed.   Smith knows that his police buddies like to make this claim to violate people’s fourth amendment rights against search and seizure.

The June 28th Visit to Thurston’s House

On June 27th, I noticed that, although Smith owns a nice house he bought for $200,000 in Arlington, from the address on his Appointment of Campaign Treasurer, he appeared to be living in a dilapidated house bought from a bank in 2009, for less than $25,000, by his campaign Communications Director, Lloyd Brown.   The documents are here (PDF).  This piqued my interest enough for a reconnaissance.

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Peeling paint and rotten woodwork (blight) on an upper-story window at Thurston’s official District 7 residence

After an abortive visit on the 27th, where I did not find the right house, I hung my media ID around my neck and drove to his house on Friday June 28th with the aid of a GPS.   I noticed a white Cadillac with a VA parking decal parked outside and later posted that he seemed to be present.   I also took several photos of the exterior of the residence, with peeling paint and rotted woodwork and window jambs.   I thought this was interesting in case Smith later talked about blight.  In order to allay any worries about who was at the door, I called him and he did not pick up.

If Thurston Smith had done the same at my house, or called me, this would have been canvassing.   I think of this as reverse canvassing.

Why did Smith take out an Order of Protection?

It is interesting that Thurston’s first thought, when challenged by a voter in his district, is to resort to lying and intimidation.   On Sunday June 30th, Detective Raymond Jones called me saying that Smith and Lloyd Brown had complained that I had been stalking and harassing them.   I have not heard more.  Presumably MPD would have just as hard a time proving these allegations as Smith had in court.      Hopefully Detective Jones had permission from Director Rallings to undertake an “investigation” that had obvious potential for revealing political information.

Broadcaster Thadeus Matthews claimed, in this broadcast (at hour 1 minute 20) from July 1st, and again on the 15th, that Thurston Smith had been forced to retire early from his job at the VA.   According to Matthews, this was allegedly related to alleged claims that Smith had allegedly sexually harassed another employee.  Matthews said he would have the victim as a guest on his broadcast.  We will not reveal the name of this employee, who is still at the VA, because it is our policy not to expose the names or particulars of alleged victims of alleged sexual crime.   We also can’t name our informants at the VA because the case of Sean Higgins proves that whistle blowers are savagely treated at the VA.    We would also point out that Mathews is also saying that Smith does not live in the district, which we don’t believe.  Matthews was shaking Smith down for “advertising” money at the time.

Asking Smith questions about the circumstances of his departure from the VA prompted him to reach out to me via Personal Message, by phone and caused him to be visibly angry at his campaign announcement event.   He attempted intimidation via law enforcement and the Temporary Protection Order.

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Image  Picsart.com

Smith clearly has no regard for constitutional values, truth or transparency.    Without the material in the protection order, I would not have had much to write.   How he imagined that his dubious maneuver would silence me is unclear.  His lack of judgement alone disqualifies him from office.

Thurston Smith and the Police.

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Photo: Facebook

This is Thurston Smith’s Community Outreach Program ID.   He shamelessly posted it on his Facebook page.

COP is an organization of police sympathizers and snitches.   They attend special training at Memphis Police Academy, where they are trained to spy on citizens and spread police propaganda.  We obtained emails to COP members around the time of the April 3rd, 2018 Rolling Block Party police riot, where police brass asked COP members to try to prevent their congregations from joining the protest, in which Manuel Duran and others were arrested by paramilitary Organized Crime Unit (OCU) police thugs.

At a time when candidates like Tami Sawyer and John Marek are calling for the firing of Mike Rallings and his replacement by a Director who understands community policing, Smith holds the view that MPD is fine as is and should be supported in their campaign of mass incarceration.   Evidence to the contrary includes:  The ACLU “Kendrick” court victory and court monitor, Darrius Stewart’s murder and cover-up,  the attempted murder, cover-up and incarceration of Martavious Banks, the police riot after the killing of Brandon Webber, turning off of body- and dash- cams, the Graceland discrimination case, the FightFor$15 case, numerous letters from CLERB which were stonewalled by Mike Rallings, spying by police at an actual Court Monitor public meeting, Authorization of Agency and other incidents of police malpractice and brutality too numerous to mention.

Thurston Smith is a pro-police dinosaur at a time when District 7 and the entire city is crying out for police reform.

Incidentally, Smith’s posture strengthens the Caissa Dog Whistle, which supports white control of the City.

I consider it an honor to be singled out for retribution by Thurston Smith.

— concluded —

 

   

 

 

 

Dan Rosson placed on AoA by City

We have another Authorization of Agency case to share, this time that of Dan Rosson, against whom Memphis Animal Services, in collaboration with City Chief Operating Officer Doug McEwen, have created an AoA.  Once again, the City has used AoA to silence a political opponent.

AoA and the City Blacklist.

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Mike Rallings and Jim Strickland’s Blacklist.  Photo, The Commercial Appeal.

Authorization of Agency first came to public attention when the City’s Blacklist was published on half a dozen AoA forms.  Placement on Jim Strickland’s AoA was purportedly in retaliation for a December 19th Die-In action at Strickland’s, but it contained over forty activists’ names, far more than the ten or so protesters at that action.  The list was correctly interpreted as a City action against a list of activists which MPD was managing in contravention of the 1978 Kendrick Consent Decree.   The ACLU took the City and MPD to court and won.

AoA used against Zoo critics.

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Hunter Demster being cuffed by Officer Dan Adams at the Zoo

We publish some research on Authorization of Agency, compiling almost 1,700 AoA records obtained from MPD via Open Records Request.   While 84.9% of the AoA victims were  African Americans victims of police racism, a few, featuring Hunter Demster, Maureen Spain and myself were clearly in retaliation by the Zoo and MPD for harmless political speech.  In my case, I was on two AoAs, one issued days after my 2016 arrest at the Zoo, which was judged by the courts to be a wrongful arrest, dismissed and expunged.   My second Zoo AoA was illegally created by forging my name to an existing, pre-signed AoA with Hunter Demster, after we uneventfully visited the Zoo.   Again, this was an act of political retaliation, supported by MPD files collected in violation of Kendrick.

MPD working for private employer with AoA.

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Rodney Fisher (Photo: Facebook)

Last week, we wrote about Rodney Fisher’s AoA at DHL/Nike.  In this case, Mr. Fisher’s employer used MPD to inform him that he had been fired, in retaliation for political speech at his place of employment.  The MPD Lieutentant Colonel who ordered the patrolman to inform Mr. Fisher was quoted as saying he had been targeted for non-existent “threats” made via social media, indicating that Mr. Fisher’s first amendment speech on political subjects had been investigated, and that a social media search had been performed by MPD.

New:  Dan Rosson’s AoA

Now, we have a new AoA of concern, against animal activist and dog rescue volunteer, Dan Rosson.   In this case, city employees at Memphis Animal Shelter and City Chief Operating Officer, Doug McGowan, were behind the retaliatory use of AoA.

AOA

Dan Rosson was a long-time volunteer at Memphis Animal Services.  He was a dog foster, caring for shelter dogs at his home, and performing various tasks at the shelter.   He photographed dogs and helped document their temperaments among other valuable services that saved money for the City and the lives of many dogs scheduled for euthanasia.

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Dan Rosson (photo Dan Rosson)

Mr Rosson recounts an incident at a Collierville vet, when a dog, which had been secretly labeled as potentially vicious by MAS. attacked another dog.   Rosson subsequently, at an April 2018 MAS advisory board meeting, called for volunteers to be warned about dogs labeled as problematic.   Mr Rosson, in the following months, also shared a long list of administrative issues at MAS that he wanted addressed.

On February 13th 2019 Mr Rosson posted on Facebook about some critically ill pups who needed urgent veterinary treatment.   He had been banned from transporting animals and no-one else was available to drive the pups to the vet.

Mr Rosson, as a proponent of the humane treatment of animals, was upset at the unnecessary suffering caused by the delay in the treatment of the canines.

On February 14th, Mr Rosson circulated a petition to volunteers and others, and engaged in first amendment protected speech critical of the City administration of MAS.  The petition asked the City to promote due process and prevent First Amendment abuse by MAS officials, naming  MAS director Alexis Pugh.

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Memphis City COO Doug McGowan.  Photo: City.   We apologize for the aesthetics

On February 18th, Mr Rosson posted that City Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowan had allegedly called Rosson’s former employer, University of Tennessee.  Mr Rosson is retired from UT but had availed of the customary policy of allowing retirees to continue using their UT email.   UT canceled Mr Rosson’s email account with resultant chilling effect on his ability to engage in free speech on this issue.

On the 20th, Mr Rosson received some Open Records Requests information from the City attempting to clarify the MAS policies on administering volunteers and asking for records on his own case, and the petition was delivered to the Mayor and City Council.   That was the day the AoA was signed by Alexis Pugh.

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Alexis Pugh (Photo WKNO)

On February 21st Mr Rosson was informed that he would be arrested if he set foot at MAS and was informed of other charges made by Pugh against him.   These additional charges might constitute illegal acts but were not recorded (as sometimes happens) as marginal notes on the AoA.  This suggests that MPD was maintaining other documents relating to Mr Rosson.   This implies the existence of an investigation, which, being likely to uncover political information relating to Mr Rosson’s communications with the City and MAS, should have been approved by Police Director Rallings pursuant to the Kendrick Consent Decree, which had been well aired in Federal court by this time.

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Some cute rescue puppies.  We could not leave you with those administrator photos.  

The accusations made by MAS management, if they could be substantiated, should have resulted in a police investigation.  Mr Rosson has not been charged with any offense relating to alleged incidents at MAS.

We believe that Mr Rosson’s case is an clear example of AoA being used by MPD to harass political opponents of the City, which is a pattern we have been seeing  lot of.

Note on Authorization of Agency.

If you are told, by MPD or property management, that you will be arrested if you set foot on a given property, ask if you are on an AoA.

If you are on an AoA, you can get the document for free via the City Open Records portal.  You need to specify a date range, which should be a few days before and after the date you are informed.  You need the address of the premised, and also the MPD precinct and ward in which it is located, which you can look up in the link.

Sometimes AoAs are placed without informing the victim.   In this case you find out about it at some later point, when you visit the premises.   In that case, figure out when the AoA was placed and straddle that date in your open records request.

Share your AoA adventures with us.  If you feel that the AoA is the result of an MPD investigation not approved by the Director, or if its deficient due process is being used to threaten or intimidate you, or to impede your constitutional rights, contact the MPD Court Monitor. Read our AoA information.   If you are arrested for trespass on an unposted location without being given notice to depart, share this information with your attorney.

— concluded —

Rodney Fisher fired by MPD via AoA

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Rodney Fisher (Photo: Facebook)

Rodney Fisher made video of a visit from an unidentified MPD officer on the evening of July 25th, around 10 PM.   Fisher is admin of the Memphis (Real News) facebook page.

We transcribed the conversation.

Police Officer:  (talking on phone outside front door):  AoAs, all right. Yes, sir. (Hangs up cellphone).

Police Officer:  (talking to Rodney Fisher): Mr Fisher, I guess the lieutenant colonel wanted me to call you regarding the Nike incident or something.  You worked at Nike, correct?

Continue reading “Rodney Fisher fired by MPD via AoA”

2019 Council Candidates Scored

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Paige Walkup, Gene Bryan, Mae Bennett (formerly Yearwood), Brian Stephens and Mary Joseph (formerly Tanner). Bennett has since left the company.

We reported on the behind-the-scenes manipulations of Caissa Public Strategy back in 2017.

Our identification of the Caissa Seven at the time had predictive value, although we overestimated Kemp Conrad’s Caissa spend at a time when some documents were unavailable at the Election Commission.
We also missed a year-end 2014 contribution of $500 by Caissa Public Strategy to Edmund Ford Jr.  We are sorry we missed that, as it would have pointed to his antics around the 2018 referendum.   Essentially Ford was another Caissa paeon, voting with the Caissa whip almost all the time especially on public safety issues.

Continue reading “2019 Council Candidates Scored”

The slaying of Brandon Webber

photoLast week we had the tragedy of Brandon Webber, who was killed on June 12th by US Marshals in the driveway of his family’s Frayser home.   His bereaved parents spoke out in a June 14th vigil at the site of the killing, attended by over 600 mourners.   We are saddened by this violence.     Continue reading “The slaying of Brandon Webber”