Private security groups regularly sent Minnesota police disinformation about protesters

“I felt like I was in a nightmare. It was so profoundly disagreeable,” she says. “Honestly, I felt quite humiliated by it because there were all these people who were trying to talk and they were drowning.” Ruddock says: “It was so grotesque and obviously made for made me realize they were watching me”. CRG had identified her, found a video of her music and “blasted my music around my neighborhood”.

“I felt like I was going to have a panic attack,” she says. Ruddock tried to explain the situation to other activists – many of whom had no idea she was a musician, let alone her song – and quickly left the protest. She doesn’t know why she was singled out, but suspects it was because she was often in the area around Seven Points with camera in hand, photographing the unrest in her neighborhood.

CRG also played recordings of speeches made by Martin Luther King Jr. to drown out calls for protests, according to three activists we spoke to. According to Rick Hodsdon, chairman of the Minnesota Board of Private Investigators and Protective Agent Services, no formal complaint has been filed against CRG. A complaint would trigger an investigation by the agency and could lead to the revocation of security licenses and, potentially, criminal charges.

A Look at Intel Reports

What Ruddock could not have known is that the CRG also functioned as an undercover intelligence team for the Minneapolis Police Department. According to emails obtained by MIT Technology Review, CRG monitored activists in Uptown and often sent reports to the department. One such 17-page report, titled “Initial Threat Assessment,” described the organizers as part of “antifa,” a term often used in far-right discourse to exaggerate the threat posed by radical right-wing political groups. the left. Ruddock was identified as one of the leaders of antifa, a claim she calls “ridiculous” and says she has “never been associated with antifa or any extremist group”.

An email from CRG to MPD dated August 2021

(MIT Technology Review is not publishing the reports we reviewed because of the risk of spreading false and potentially defamatory information.)

Some of the reports include information sourced from the internet and social media, as well as photographs of Ruddock and other activists. In an exchange between Seven Points and MPD, Seven Points referred to CRG’s “surveillance cameras.” Some information has been released by the AntifaWatch website, including photographs of Ruddock and other activists from a mass arrest during a protest on June 5, 2021, two days after Smith’s death. The 2021 charges against Ruddock have since been dropped for “insufficient evidence,” and there is a pending lawsuit against the city surrounding the arrest.

AntifaWatch says it “exists to document and track Antifa and the far left.” The site publishes photos of almost 7,000 people suspected of being involved in antifa or antifa activities, along with other information about them. His information comes from news reports, social media posts and submissions that anyone can make. The website states that “for a report to be approved, it must have a reasonable level of evidence (News article, arrest photo, riot photo, self-identification, etc.)” MIT Technology Review attempted to verify some of the entries on the site and found an inaccuracy. For example, the daughter of former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is listed for an arrest at a Black Lives Matter protest on May 31, 2020, in New York City. AntifaWatch characterized Chiara de Blasio as “rioting with antifa,” although the police report does not indicate that de Blasio participated in the riot.

The website says that “a report on AntifaWatch is in no way, shape, or form an accusation of someone’s involvement in Antifa, terrorism, or terrorist groups” and says it is “not a doxxing website,” though it explicitly tries to identify and disclose personal information about people. His posts often contain bigoted language. It also features a facial recognition feature: anyone can upload an image and the website will return potential matches from its AntifaWatch database.

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