According to documents acquired by The Guardian, undercover cops with the New York Police Department gained access to the text messages of Black Lives Matter activists.
The documents were produced following a freedom of information lawsuit filed by New York law firm Stecklow & Thompson to challenge the NYPD’s “denial of a Freedom of Information Law request for information on its monitoring of rallies following the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson,” New York Daily News reports.
Emails also reveal that undercover cops regularly filmed Black Lives Matter activists and posed as protesters during rallies.
From The Guardian:
“In one email, an official notes that an undercover officer is embedded within a group of seven protesters on their way to Grand Central Station. This intimate access appears to have helped police pass as trusted organizers and extract information about demonstrations. In other emails, officers share the locations of individual protesters at particular times. The NYPD emails also include pictures of organizers’ group text exchanges with information about protests, suggesting that undercover officials were either trusted enough to be allowed to take photos of activists’ phones or were themselves members of a private planning group text.”
David Thompson, an attorney from Stecklow & Thompson, told The Guardian, “The documents uniformly show no crime occurring, but NYPD had undercovers inside the protests for months on end as if they were al-Qaida.”
The documents also reveal the extent of NYPD surveillance, with surveillance dating back to protests surrounding the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and 2015.
The NYPD has yet to respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.