Undercover New York Police Department officers infiltrated Black Lives Matter activist groups, posed as protesters and gained access to the organization's text message threads, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Court records show NYPD surveilled the group in the wake of the death of Eric Garner in 2014, which sparked massive protests. Records show officers would pose as protesters to forward precise information about demonstrations to NYPD. Other documents show screencaps of BLM group text messages.
BLM leaders celebrated the release of the documents.
I don't know how that got out ... We clearly compromised ourselves.
But others saw a sobering lesson when they realize how far police had infiltrated the group. The group text messages weren't available for all protesters, but only a trusted few key organizers.
This could have been going on a while for these people to get so close to the inner circle.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective, said it was "pretty amazing" that officers were able to get that high up in the group in a short amount of time.
Brennan Center for Justice lawyer Michael Price said it was hard to tell if NYPD had broken the law, but he wasn't sure BLM had committed any crimes to merit surveillance.
The documents uniformly show no crime occurring, but NYPD had undercovers inside the protests for months on end as if they were al-Qaida.
Other lawyers were more harsh toward NYPD, including David Thompson of Stecklow & Thompson, who sued for the records.
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