So, the Police Just Accidentally Revealed They Monitor Anti-Racism Groups...


Who doesn’t love the classic “bumbling-police-don’t-know-how-to-use-social-media” trope?

I really can’t speak for the men in blue but here at SDEL, it is our sworn duty to serve and protect the tea — so here it is:

A gas line issue in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts has been causing several homes to spontaneously combust. That sentence alone should be entertaining enough for me to end the article here — But I won’t! In an effort to keep the public informed and maintain the facade that they’re doing their job, the Massachusetts State Police sent out a tweet advising people to evacuate their homes if they lived in certain parts of the state. In order to help out all our visual learners out there, they included a screenshot of a map pulled up on one of the MSP Watch Center computers. What they also unintentionally included in this photo was a screenshot of their bookmarks bar.

Rookie mistake.

Y’all know you can’t trust Twitter with a screenshot! They be lookin’ everywhere EXCEPT at what you want them to look at. It doesn’t matter what’s on the screen - you could have receipts from an affair with Obama but everyone would be looking at how your battery is on 7% and you’ve got a voicemail. (Forgive me for bringing our faithful fave, Obama into this but I needed to demonstrate how much Twitter does not give A FUCK about the intended focus of your screenshot.) So, naturally the Twittersphere took note of what was in the bookmarks bar and it was discovered that more than a couple of the bookmarks were for resistance groups.

Most notably, the bar includes bookmarks for; the Facebook group for Mass Action Against Police Brutality (MAAPB), a group that organizes protests against victims of police brutality and actively champions the prosecution of police for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner; the Facebook group for the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump (COMBAT), a group that describes itself as “a grassroots, intersectional coalition” that organizes to “resist all forms of oppression”; and the Resistance Calendar, which shares all types of change-making events from anti-Trump protests to canvassing projects.

There are also bookmarks for AeryonLive, a website where you can livestream aerial drone footage; Intel Techniques, a website for analyzing online information (as well as learning how to hide yours); TinEye, a reverse image searching website; and the live Periscope Map, cause them protesters love to livestream their protests. The “Facebook MA Activ” bookmark is unconfirmed but my educated guess is that it’s the Massachusetts Activist Calendar.

As soon as people pounced on the bookmarks, the MSP account deleted the tweet and reposted a newly cropped version of the photo, but the damage was already done. In response to the uproar, the state police never denied monitoring activist groups and stated that it was their responsibility to “prepare for all large, public gatherings.”

By “prepare,” do y’all mean “refill the tear gas tanks?”

The police department later released a statement saying:

“We, obviously, need to know if large numbers of people, for whatever reason, are going to be on public roadways or public spaces, so that we may ensure the safety and rights of those who have gathered as well as of the members of the public around them.”

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Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map, there are at least 10 organized hate groups in Massachusetts but I don’t see any of them bookmarked. Are we really supposed to believe that the racially bigoted don’t get together to Ku Klux and Chill? Racists don’t organize? Why aren’t their groups bookmarked? It’s almost as if this has nothing to do with preparing for “all large public gatherings.” It’s almost as if progressive groups are being targeted as an effort to shut down dissension before any real progress can come of it. It’s almost as if the American police force has a long sordid history of shutting down protests and rallies and we were just given a glimpse into the inner workings of the well-oiled machine that is systemic racism in America.

But I probably shouldn’t speak on that too much.

They might bookmark my website.

Prayers and positivity to everyone in Merrimack Valley who lost their homes.