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

bonner_ltr
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 —

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”

Earley Story: Blown Whistler

Earley_Story_H&SEarley Story AKA Earlie Story is a soft-spoken gentleman in his mid sixties with a narrative straight out of a mid-20th century crime drama.

He is a former Sheriff’s Department sergeant and jailer at 201 Poplar, who blew the whistle on abuses at the jail.  He reported a murder and a rape to the NAACP and the FBI, and the job turned on him.

Continue reading “Earley Story: Blown Whistler”

Authorization of Agency: Initial analysis

In our most recent post, we revealed the extent of MPD’s Authorization of Agency (AoA) program, inspired by Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission (MSCCC).

We did some preliminary analysis of the data and there are updated spreadsheets (CSV, ODS, XLSX).  The update includes some address corrections and the addition of a business category field.

AOA_bar_chart
Analysis of AoAs by race

We saw the racial disparity in the initial AoA post.  The profiling nature of the scheme, with seven times (84.9% vs 12.3%) the number of Black versus white victims of AoA is confirmed.

 

 

AoA_by_year
Analysis of AoAs by year

We broke down AoAs by the year the initial AoA was signed.   2018 is low because only half a year of data was collected.   Years 211 through 2016 are incomplete because we asked in our FOIA for all AoAs between December 1st 216 and July 9th 2018.  All precincts but one simply sent all their AoA data rather than selecting the data range we asked for.   In addition, we noted many AoAs which were signed on a given date and had additional lines added over the same signature and date later.  We have not quantified this factor as of yet but we think it will skew a couple of percent of the dates earlier.

Adj_AoA_year
AoAs by year adjusted for undercount in 2016 and earlier, and for the 2018 half year

We adjusted the yearly graph by doubling up the 2018 number to estimate a full year, and we added 15% to 2016 and earlier to account for the number of AoAs missing in our sample.

The graphs look similar.  From small beginnings in 2011, the scheme grew to about 240 in 2014, then took a big jump to 665 in 2016 and plateaued out to around 600 each in 2017-2018.

We need to look for the impetus behind the 2014 and 2016 bumps.   Most likely, some form of marketing or promotional assets were assigned to the program to cause these bumps.  We’ll also submit another ORR to obtain the missing data.

AoA_by_cat

We created a new field in the spreadsheet for business category and ran this report.  The biggest category is apartment, which also includes mobile home parks, condos, retirement communities and townhouses.

The dominance of this sector may be the result of “Operation Safeway” which had a focus on apartment managers.   The majority of these had a just a few AoAs, but complexes like Greenbrier with 48 AoAs and a dozen or so with double digits stand out.    Clearly a number of apartment managements embraced the scheme enthusiastically.

The retail sector is largely a handful of AoAs in each store.   All branches of chain stores are included.   Three chains of dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree) had a total of 38 AoAs, which probably reflects the dollar stores’ well known skimping on security staff.   Other chains with large numbers includes Walgreens with 24 and Kroger with 17.   Otherwise, few retailers had more than three or four per location.

We think that, like with the apartment sector, that the heavy retail users had an internal policy to use AoA while the light users were probably recruited by police.

The food sector includes all vendors of prepared food and alcohol by the drink.   The chains with most branches are the biggest offenders, and CiCi’s Pizza in Poplar Plaza’s 17 AoAs were associated with a well-publicized disturbance at the venue.    We know that Operation Safeway targeted food establishments in certain areas, but we think that most of the rest may have been instigated by MPD, including the CiCi’s incident.

The hotel/motel sector includes hotels, motels and boarding houses, has a few stand-outs, probably related to prostitution.  The manufacturing sector, though small, is dominated by Smith and Nephew who initiated 85 of the 100 AoAs.  This is an anomaly which probably reflects a decision in management to use MPD as part of its security apparatus.

The gas sector looks very much like retail, and when you eliminate the effect of supplier chains like Shell or Exxon, not much stands out.

Public facilities include the downtown MATA terminus, with 24 AoAs and three at the Zoo.   We talked about the Zoo political blacklist in the original AoA post.  We dispute the legality of public entities barring members of the public.

Churches banned 37 people.  It sounds unchristian to us to put people in the system.   Even worse, schools had 35 AoAs, and we cannot envision a world where young people can be legally barred from education, or even where a school would involve the police in its disciplinary process.

Summary

We see some high-frequency users of AoA.  These AoAs are probably due to business policy and may have been influenced by Operation Safeway in some way.   The vast majority of AoAs have the potential of being instigated by police, including a handful where we know the case history.

We will follow up with additional analysis, including enriching the data and sampling some case histories to determine the marketing initiatives that shape the AoA usage curves.

–concluded–