Home News Private security groups regularly sent Minnesota police misinformation about protestors

Private security groups regularly sent Minnesota police misinformation about protestors

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“I felt like I was having a nightmare. It was so incongruous,” she said. “Honestly, I’m very humiliated by it because all these people are trying to talk and they’re all overwhelmed.” Ruddock said: “It’s so grotesque, obviously to let me know they’re looking at me. CRG identified her, found her music video, and “bombed my music in my community.”

“I felt like I was going to have a panic attack,” she said. Ruddock tried to explain the situation to other activists — many of whom didn’t know she was a musician, let alone that it was her song — and quickly left the protest. She doesn’t know why she was singled out, but suspects it’s because she often attends the area around seven with a camera in hand, filming riots near her.

The CRG also played recordings of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches to cover up slogans at the protests, according to three activists we spoke to. No formal complaint has been received against CRG, according to Rick Hodsdon, chairman of the Minnesota Private Investigative and Protective Agent Services Commission. Complaints will trigger an investigation by the agency and could lead to the revocation of security licenses and possible criminal charges.

Check out the “Intel Report”

What Ruddock had no way of knowing was that the CRG also operated like the Minneapolis Police Department’s secret intelligence team. According to emails obtained by MIT Technology Review, the CRG monitors activists in residential areas and regularly sends reports to the department. A 17-page report titled “Preliminary Threat Assessment” described the organizers as part of “Antifa,” a term often used in far-right discourse to exaggerate the threat posed by radical left political groups. Ruddock, identified as one of antifa’s leaders, called the claim “ridiculous” and said she had “never been affiliated with antifa or any extremist group”.

An email from CRG to MPD, dated August 2021

(MIT Technology Review does not publish the report we reviewed because of the risk of spreading false and potentially defamatory information.)

Some of the reports included information from the internet and social media, as well as photos of Ruddock and other activists. In an exchange between Seven and MPD, Seven referred to CRG’s “cameras they use to monitor.” Some of the information came from the AntifaWatch website, including photos of Ruddock and other activists during a mass arrest at a protest on June 5, 2021, two days after Smith’s death. Charges against Ruddock in 2021 have since been dropped for “insufficient evidence” and pending lawsuits against the city surrounding the arrest.

AntifaWatch said it was “used to record and track Antifa and the far left”. The site posted photos of nearly 7,000 people allegedly engaged in antifa or antifa-related activities, along with other information about them. Its information comes from news reports, social media posts, and content that anyone can submit. The site states that “reports to be approved must have a reasonable level of evidence (news articles, pictures of arrests, pictures of riots, self-identification, etc.).” MIT Technology Review attempted to verify several entries on the site and found inaccuracies place. For example, the daughter of former New York City Mayor de Blasio was on the arrest list during a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City on May 31, 2020. AntifaWatch described Chiara de Blasio as “rioting with antifa”, although the police report did not indicate de Blasio was involved in the rioting.

The site says “AntifaWatch’s report is not, in no way, shapes or forms an allegation that someone is involved in Antifa, terrorism, or a terrorist organization” and says it “is not a doxxing site,” even though it explicitly attempts to identify and reveal personal information about the person involved . Its posts often contain paranoid language. It also features facial recognition: anyone can upload an image, and the site will return potential matches from its AntifaWatch database.



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