In the same vein as Cointelpro, Black Lives Matter protesters allege Memphis, Tenn., police have collected vital, private information about them following a string of protests last year.
The police are accused of collecting the height, weight and date of birth of protesters through long-term surveillance, an allegation Antonio Cathey confirmed to Fox 13 Memphis in a Monday, Feb. 20, interview. The union organizer said the police have routinely surveilled him outside of his home and office.
“Sometimes, they sit outside our offices; sometimes, they sit outside our house,” Cathey tells the reporter.
Keedran “TN” Franklin recorded and posted on Facebook a video of a police officer outside his union headquarters Feb. 6.
A “watch list” was created after protesters rallied outside of Mayor Jim Strickland’s home in January and was signed Jan. 8 by the mayor.
Those on the watch list will be barred from the mayor’s property and also are not allowed at City Hall without an escort, reported Fox 13. Local minister and peace activist Elaine Blanchard was surprised to discover that she was on the list. Blanchard said she was only connected to Black Lives Matter when she crossed a police barricade without problem during the Graceland protests last year.
“My weight was on this list,” she says. “I am curious to know where did the mayor’s office and the police department get my weight.”
Memphis Police Department and the City of Memphis have reportedly met regularly to make sure they didn’t break the law or federal agreements stating the police and the city do not engage in political intelligence.
“Now, that’s a separate issue from the list,” Strickland says. “All the more reason I have asked the trusted police director to review the situation.”
The list can be harmful to those on it by possible preventing them from getting hired, according to Fox 13. It also can leave the city vulnerable to lawsuits in the future.