On Monday (April 11), reports uncovered a Chicago Police Department operation that included spying on the Chicago faction of Black Lives Matter, the authorized police operation sent undercover officers to screen meetings and protests led by the organization.
The Chicago police department requires justification for all proposed investigations into groups that exercise their first amendment rights and must have a “reasonable law enforcement purpose” for approval. Seven investigations into groups associated with anti-establishment activism have opened since 2009, including probes into NATO summit protesters, the Occupy movement, and anti-Olympic protest groups.
Emails between city officials in 2014 uncovered a plan to infiltrate organizations known for protesting, particularly organizations led by Blacks. Following the shooting of Black teenager, Laquan McDonald, by a white police officer, a top mayoral aide began monitoring plans and demonstrations organized by the Black Youth Project 100, another organization being snooped on by police.
Chicago Police Department spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, responded to inquiries about the operation saying, “These protective actions-which happen in limited circumstances- are conducted to protect public safety and people’s First Amendment rights”. Guglielmi continued saying that the probes were “routine”.
Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, and his administration have faced heavy opposition over the alarming rate of violence in Chicago and the handling of multiple incidences of police brutality.