MPD documents from ACLU Lawsuit.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 —

Caissa Line-up for 2019

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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 “Caissa Line-up for 2019”

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.

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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.

 

 

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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–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authorization of Agency: MPD invention.

We’ve been hearing about MPD’s Authorization of Agency (AoA) process.   It surfaced in the media during the A-list controversy, where the actual blacklist was on form AA 0306, the Authorization of Agency form.    We also wrote about a couple of Park Protectors who featured on AoAs at the Zoo.

What is Authorization of Agency (AoA)

Authorization of Agency is generally accepted term in real estate law, where it allows an agent to sign property documents in lieu of a principal.

Some police agencies have the concept of authorization of agency, the San Diego PD being an example.  In the case of all police agencies we could find, the authorization of agency is a blanket measure against all trespassers, so it’s similar to posting your property.

a-listMPD’s AoA is different.   It specified the property, but also has one or more individuals who are barred from the property.   This is unique to MPD’s version of AoA.

Normally, trespass does not occur, in the case of property that is not posted, until an accused person has been informed that she is trespassing, and is given time to leave the property.

The legal theory behind the AoA is that the persons listed has been informed that they will be trespassing without further notice if she enters the property again.  It supposedly authorizes the police to act as an agent of the landlord in giving notice.

AoA is also promoted by Shelby Co. DA Amy Weirich as part of Operation Safeway.   Anecdotally, we hear that it is used against the homeless, by apartment complexes and by businesses who seek to prevent “undesirables” on their premises.   The data tends to confirm this.

Our Open Records Request.

AOA_bar_chartWe submitted an open records request for all AoAs filed since December 1st 2016, and received about 200 files containing over 1800 PDF forms, many of them older than  December 2016.  Most precincts sent all their AoAs.   We think we have over 90% of AoAs.

As can be seen from the chart, there were 1697 unique AoAs in the data, and race was identified in all but 75.   84.9% of listed persons were Black and 12.3% white, with a couple of percent Latinx and a few Asians.     African Americans are over-represented by a factor of 350% compared with the demographics.  There are seven times the number of Black people over whites.

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Purple: African American/Black, Red: Whie/Cauc, Yellow: Asian, Blue: LatinX, Green: unknown

The original map can be seen on Google Docs.
Click the “Map” tab to view the interactive map, and the “Rows” tab shows the data, with the source field clickable to go to the source PDF.

The collated data table is available on Google Docs, as a comma-separated CSV file, Excel XLSX and OpenOffice ODS files.   These files also contain the name of the barred person, a clickable link to the source .PDF and the page number to search within this PDF.  (Updated 9/11/2017: updated spreadsheet with corrections and added business category field; CSV XLSX ODS.)

The map shows a large concentration stretching through downtown, Midtown, Orange Mound, Parkway Village and Hickory hill, with some outliers in Raleigh and Frayser.    Most of these places are where the races mingle as in downtown and midtown, or in transitional areas where demographics are changing.    But the vast majority of AoA listees are African American.

How AoA is supposed to work.

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MPD officer Dan Adams at the Zoo

The forms are filled in by hand by the property manager and are to be witnessed by a police officer.   They are maintained in the original form via scanning to .pdf.  They are apparently kept in hard copy folders by ward which are carried in police cars.   Many of the forms have a three digit ward number written near the top of the form.    The data are accessed by manually searching through the forms in the book.

As manual, hand-written forms, there are no controls on handwriting, spelling or general accuracy.  Many entries are hard to read, either because the original script is undecipherable or because the documents have been scanned, faxed or copied many times.

Many of the forms have additional data, such as sex, weight, height, and marginal notes with drivers license numbers or scanned licenses, phone numbers, addresses, behavioral notes, details of alleged offenses, car tags or descriptions.   DL numbers, Social Security numbers and photos are redacted.   Access the original documents to see additional data.

Although some property managers keep the forms on hand and initiate the application, the suggestion to file often comes from a police officer.

Problems with AoA administration.

The forms state that the complainant has notified the subject that they are not permitted on the property, but we have many instances where the subjects were not duly notified, and there is no checking or control on

  • Fergus Nolan and Maureen Spain are on an AoA at the Zoo from 31/5/2016 but were not notified, see example.
  • Hunter Demster was placed on an AoA on 9/28/2017 and not notified.
  • Up to 12 protesters at the Mayor’s house die-in from 12/19/2016 were placed on an AoA, and an additional 40+ people who were not at the die-in were also placed on the “A-list” AoA, but only Keedran Franklin was notified, and not by Mayor Strickland, the complainant, but by MPD plainclothes police.

Lack of notification of being on an AoA can expose the subject to arbitrary arrest for trespassing while unknowingly being listed on the property.

The “protection” afforded a property owner by AoA is similar to an order of protection, in that it prevents an subject from approaching a complainant while on her property, but AoA does not embody the same opportunity to legally challenge the listing.   AoA may be viewed as an attempt to bypass the safeguards embodied in the Order of Protection process.

The AoA process is not documented in MPD’s P&P manual, and has no maintenance or purge process.  Conditions attached to the AoA listing, such as limited duration of the listing, cannot be enforced.   We have examples of AoAs which were supposed to have limited one-year duration still being on file after many years.    The AoA my still be in effect after the property is transferred to another owner.

The forms are supposed to be signed by the complainant and witnessed by an MPD member.  We found numerous instances of missing signatures of both types, and signatures that were “witnessed” on a different date to the original signature.

We also found numerous instances where a duly signed and witnessed AOA form had additional names added over the original signature, which is a falsification of official records, as the purported signature and witness do not apply to the subsequent changes.   We have instances where both the original form and the updated version are on file, and also instances where later names were added in a different hand to the original list.   Forms should have unused subject lines crossed out to prevent subsequent additions.

Our example.

From personal experience, this example illustrates several of the problems with AoAs. On 5/31/2016, the day after their arrest at a Greensward protest, this AoA (PDF, see page 7) was created for Maureen Spain and Fergus Nolan, without notification.  Their drivers license numbers were provided to the Zoo by MPD for this purpose, in violation of open records laws, which requires DL numbers to be redacted before sharing with members of the public.

Fergus Nolan unknowingly visited the Zoo on at least three different occasions in 2017.  On one of these visits, he was with Hunter Demster, when both were asked to leave.   Subsequently, on the 28th, an AoA was created for Hunter Demster, who was not notified.

During the incident described in our February blog, the police were seen working on some papers.   Once again, for at least the fourth time, they failed to find the existing AoA for Fergus.   The police added him into the existing AoA for Hunter.   The two versions are shown above, where the second line was added in a different hand.

This illustrates what we think are common problems with AoAs.   They are frequently altered to add more names, making the witness signature fraudulent.   Subjects are often not informed of their inclusion on an AoA, making them subject to arrest if they re-enter the listed property unawares.  The system is ineffective.   Fergus Nolan’s 5/31/2016 AoA was not found on four separate occasions.   In addition, the police often add confidential information to the AoA including driver’s license, social security number and photos, which are required to be redacted before sharing with members of the public, and the complainant gets to see this information.

Legal Basis

I’m not a lawyer.   AoA form AA 0705 is another version of the form, and some are present in our document cache.   It cites TCA 39-3-1201, which was repealed, as the authorizing statute.   These AoA forms are still active.

TCA 39-14-405 is the successor statute to the repealed trespass measure and it does not mention AoA or describe its mechanism.   We have consulted attorneys who believe that the process is not legal, but there has not been a legal challenge to date.

Due Process Issues.

As there is no formal record keeping system for AoAs, and as there are no regulations in the P&P manual, the records are chaotic.

There is no judicial oversight, means of correcting, changing data, purging outdated records, or appeal process.

We saw AoAs as old as 2011, and children as young as eleven listed, with no mechanism for parental involvement.

We saw one situation where the same policeman hawked the same AoA against and individual to four different businesses in an area, suggesting that individual police have a lot of latitude in applying this sanction.

The quality of the system, in terms of data accuracy, legibility, efficient access and data maintenance procedures is rock bottom.

We are aware of several AoAs which have been removed fro the database.  These include the original AoA signed in January 2017 for the December 19th die-in, which formed the basis of the A-list.   Also missing is a December 31st for Malco theater which had the names of Keedran Franklin and other CCC members who gave out free theater tickets.   The deletions we know about occurred after political pressure was applied.

Summary

AoA is racist in implementation, has no legal basis, has no checks and balances, is unwieldy, capricious and ineffective, violates due process and has been used as a weapon by MPD officers against the weakest members of our community.

It is questionable if a police force can act as the agent of property owners, in violation of the State trespass law, without compromising their oath to uphold the law.

It needs judicial intervention.

–concluded–

 

 

 

As the dust settles: the ACLU court case.

This week has been a game changer.  Memphis history will forever be divided into the pre-ACLU era and the post-ACLU era.  MPD in particular is in crisis, and, because of role of public safety in our local elections, the crisis extends into the political sphere.

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Pau Garner, Spencer Kaaz, Al Lewis, Elaine Blanchard, Earle Fisher, Keedran “TNT” Franklin at the Federal courthouse, 8/20/2018.

The trial itself.

We saw a steady stream of MPD brass take the stand and be defensive.   The City strategy has been to try to make the police look reasonable, and to paint the activists as crazy fools.   This strategy plain failed, as Paul Garner, Elaine Blanchard, Earle Fisher and Keedran Franklin presented well on the stand.   It is notable that the City did not send Jim Strickland or any of the”public safety” advocates to defend their police buddies.

The defense cut their losses on Thursday and pulled the plug on trying to discredit more activists or putting more police on the stand.   Essentially, they accepted defeat after a very poor display of legal skills.

MPD’s Reaction

MPD is not a monolith.  It has leaders jockeying for position as the next director, a large number of disaffected members who are still disgruntled over pensions and benefits, a degenerate and poorly led MPA and a sizeable contingent of out and out racists who are chafing at being led by an African American director.

We can expect instability at MPD.   At this point I see little benefit in stirring the pot at MPD.    We’ve stirred.   Stirring done.

At this point we need to be concerned that the police will revert to form and lash out at civilians and activists.  We suggest extreme care in interactions with police as we await the verdict from the trial.  We have no need to provoke further reactions from MPD.   We’ve already unleashed the nuclear option.

Political Reaction

Strickland’s administration has not been watching the backs of their police.  He has been declining to comment on the sub-judice proceedings.   We expect this to continue.

In the meantime, the hitherto solid eight or nine vote pro-police Council block is already showing signs of fragmenting.  Joe Brown and Edmund Ford are term limited and won’t need to expend political capital on defending the police.

Berlin Boyd is up for re-election.   He has been at odds with the Kemp Conrad knee-jerk brand of police support, voting against Conrad in the August 2016 marijuana ordinance.  Boyd knows that he needs to put some distance between himself and the law and order lobby.   He’s been reaching out to certain activists with some truly strange proposals.

Jamita Swearengen, as the new chairman of the Public Safety Committee, has been conventionally pro-police, generally following the MPD’s COP community policing line.   She made a speech at CLERB extolling Blue Crush and the deployment of 490 new spycams, which City Council approved a budget of $1.5M for on July 10th.

Patrice Robinson has not been saying a lot about policing.

Of the white Council members, all part of the Caissa group, the more extreme police fans like Kemp Conrad and Reid Hedgepeth, with Bill Morrison, are term limited.   We might see some posturing from them.  Ford Canale remains a cypher, although he rang the Public Safety bell in his August election campaign, apparently with less effect than his predecessor.

We don’t see much incentive for Council members to expend political capital on defending police prerogatives.   In fact, we think some of the previous pro-police coalition, especially Berlin Boyd, are already maneuvering to create some advantage for themselves.

Policy Changes

Activists have ling sought a strengthening of CLERB powers.   CLERB needs subpoena power, and the ability to make binding recommendations for disciplinary actions and policy and procedure changes.    Look to Memphis United, fresh from Paul Garner’s performance on the witness stand, to be making proposals.   In addition, it appears that the administration has successfully sabotaged the ability of CLERB to post documents on its own website and on the City archive site.

It’s hard not to see the canny Garner taking advantage of MPD’s predicament.

Police Director

Mike Rallings, as the officer who presided over the decline in MPD political interference, and because of his unconvincing defense of his policies on the stand, is damaged goods.   He has been left dangling by his political masters.   There is no question that he can survive past the election of the next mayor in 2019.   He either takes control of his fate and resigns, or the political upheaval that now starts will result in his firing.

Rallings has been fully vested in his MPD pension plan for about a year.

It seems very clear that a new director can’t come from the culturally compromised MPD.    The next Police Director must be chosen on the basis of a proven record of community policing.   The internal candidates who have been preened as Ralling’s successor  are infected with the racial disease that infects the force and will be rejected.

Our suggestions for police director include Anne Kirkpatrick, Oakland CA police chief.   She applied for the job in 2016.  Another is John S Thompson, Camden NJ police chief.

The 2019 City elections

The current mayor and most of City Council were elected in 2015 with dog-whistle campaigns, evoking public safety with racial coding to get elected.   The dog whistle was already losing its effectiveness.   J Ford Canale blew the dog whistle in the Super 9-2 election and his vote was down 25% on Philip Spinosa’s 2015 performance.   David Lenoir used the dog whistle in the County Mayor election and was convincingly defeated by Lee Harris.

Incumbents will be forced to run on other issues.   Insurgent candidates will focus on poverty, economics and policing, where incumbents have a dreadful record.   Strickland has not been brilliant at the basics.   The Caissa Seven have been exposed as the next best thing to a political conspiracy.

Expect a lot of surprises as incumbents and challengers jockey for position and make economic arguments.   Expect opponents to rally around retaining IRV in the December referenda, and issues like EDGE, economic development, energy policy, CLERB, policing and poverty to be well aired in the election runup.

Summary

Policing has been the lynch-pin of Memphis politics, especially in the last election cycle.  The pin has been pulled from this grenade.

People need to be very careful out in the streets.

In the halls of power, expect surprises.  2019 will be fought and won on real policies, not the stalking horses of yore.

 

 

 

 

 

The ACLU lawsuit data: answered questions.

Memphis City and the ACLU have, in the last week, released a huge trove of documents relating to the A-list lawsuit.

The UK-based The Guardian today covered the story, as has Esquire magazine and Citylab.  Our local crowdsourcers have only begun to dig in the paperwork, and we are certain that the material will fuel our researches for years to come, but a few vital facts have emerged.

Geofeedia replacement social media “collator”  NC4.

surveillance13n-2-webProbably one of the most significant finding to date is the identification of the Geofeedia replacement.   The ACLU had been after this product as the social media spy tool of choice until the social media powerhouses cut off its data feed in October 2016.  The new replacement is NC4, which was revealed in the new a-list documents, we think for the first time.  All we can find is this PRnewswire piece which was probably paid for by NC4.com as part of its PR aimed at local LE departments.

This alone means that we are already seeing dividends from the ACLU case, before it is even heard.

Activist counter-intel successes.

TN-Rolling-Block-Party-Fedex_tennesseean
Rolling Block Party at Fedex:  4/23/2018 Keedran on the car.

 

Almost as interesting, which squares with what we already knew from our previous blog about CCC’s counter-intel operations, is the fact that LE responses have been repeatedly been triggered by fake news planted by people close to CCC.   Our blog uses Open Record information to document how fake news about an attempt on the Bridge escalated all the way to the top of State LE and to FBI.   That incident appears to have escalated police response to protests, including the arrest of protesters on April 3rd by a snatch squad from the MPD Multi-Agency Gang Unit’s OCU (Organized Crime Unit).   It was a pre-emption intended to abort a 6:30 bogus Bridge occupation.   The OCU is all over the ACLU documents.      The take-away from this is that information gleaned by MPD and TBI’s CIU from social media is even less reliable than the average social media fake news.

LE bites on fake intel, misses the real information.

Bruce_Kramer
Bruce Kramer, longtime ACLU attorney

Also revealed, something we also suspected from our blog:  Not only is State LE liable to fly off the handle and escalate fake news to the top levels of local, State and Federal LE, but they have been doing a very poor job of eliciting the real intel they seek.

Our CCC story reveals that the unknown operational security measures CCC used to safely transmit the real April 3rd itinerary are working.  The unadvertised first stop of the Rolling Block Party arrived at FedEx to find no police presence, and the police made the scene in a time span appropriate to a 911 dispatch.   So, not only is the police intel gathering catching all the fake news, it is missing the real intel they are after.

Here’s the Daily Kos‘ Gary Moore on the April 3 arrests.

MPD gets vindictive from intel defeat.

mlk50_popoFrustration at being totally confounded by this poorly financed, rag-tag group of activists may have led to Keedran Frankin‘s July 6th arrest, and the planting of evidence in his car.  This arrest was allegedly in a traffic stop done by OCU, which is not exactly their beat.

Limitations of MPD’s social media spying.

The strange story of “Bob Smith’s” bogus social media account is also revealed.   We had feared that MPD’s Real Time Crime Center had the ability to penetrate the end-to-end encryption used by Facebook.   However, it appears that MPD was only able to view private data on Facebook to which their fake account, Bob Smith, had ‘friended’ itself.   All the information in the earliest document released by the city suggests that only activists friended by Bob Smith could be accessed by MPD.   In particular, Facebook Private Messages and secret groups which did not include Bob Smith were safe from spying.

We say this with a caveat: private Facebook stuff could be revealed via NSA decryption or by the issuance of a FICA court order, which does not require much in the way of probable cause.   As far as I know, CCC used different means to organize the Rolling Block Party, and I don’t want to know what it was.   CCC keeps ahead of LE spying by eternal vigilance and strict operational security.

BobSmith
Photo: Facebook

I was personally targeted by Bob Smith and the information used to smear me, as searches for “Fergus” and “Nolan” separately will reveal.   In particular, my arrest on Memorial Day 2016 was presented to be because I advocated lawbreaking due to entrapment by Bob Smith as a deliberate act by MPD, which I know to be untrue.   In addition, the story of my uncovering the A-list which I documented in this first party  eye witness account is smeared by a bogus allegation of a fanciful meeting I was supposed to have with a County employee, who is standing for election this week.    I promised I would not out this person until after the election, but this MPD cover story did not surface until after my A-list story needed to be discredited, and is at variance with my contemporary eye witness account.   My story did not change.  Theirs did.

2015-10-fusioncenter-616x369In other news: Office of Homeland Security identified.

At MemphisTruth.org, we have been looking for the MPD’s Office of Homeland Security.   It turns out to be two officers, Sergeant Tim Reynolds, promoted this April but identified in the documents as Detective, Sergeant and Lieutenant, and as Police Officer II in the current City salaries list.   Also Sgt. Edwin Cornwell.

The Office of Homeland Security is part of MPD Special Operations, housed in the Special Operations division, which also houses the Real Time Crime Center which does most of MPD’s electronic spookery.

The ACLU papers will give and give.