Another story of official law enforcement “misconduct” comes to us from the state of Oregon, where a state Department of Justice investigator was caught doing something truly awful. But we’re not talking about shooting suspects, tasing them or engaging in false arrests here. No, the bad man in question was found to have been reading tweets with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. (HuffPo)
An Oregon Department of Justice investigator conducted digital surveillance on supporters of Black Lives Matter, searching the movement’s well-known hashtag as part of a threat assessment investigation, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum revealed in a letter Tuesday.
“When I initially heard about this incident I was appalled,” Rosenblum said in her letter, which was in response to an earlier letter from the Portland chapter of the national civil rights organization the Urban League. The civil rights group sought an investigation into allegations that the state DOJ was digitally surveilling Oregonians for use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on social media. Rosenblum confirmed an investigator in the Criminal Justice Division had conducted such an investigation.
Keep in mind that we’re not even talking about tapping anyone’s phone or subpoenas to go through their bank records. These are tweets which are openly published on a social network for the entire world to see. So I assume that the complaints were quickly dismissed, right? Nope.
Upon discovering the social media search, Rosenblum immediately ordered the Criminal Justice Division to stop using any such online search tool. She also shared the information with Johnson.
Even leaving aside for a moment the fact that these are very public messages which anyone and everyone with a laptop or a phone is free to peruse, are we forgetting how many other high profile cases have been discovered through social media? Occasionally, early leads have headed off crimes in the planning stages, while others, tragically, were unearthed too late. How many times have we heard liberal media talkers bemoaning the fact that “nobody checked and nobody said anything” when there were clear signals on social media of something going terribly wrong. Does anyone remember the case of Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley? Shortly before he assassinated two NYPD officers he was all over social media. (From Matt Vespa at Town Hall)
On the day of the shooting, the shooter, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, traveled to New York City from Baltimore. He posted a chilling message on an Instagram account reportedly belonging to him saying, “I’m going to put wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours…Let’s take 2 of theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner [sic] #RIPMikeBorwn This may be my final post.” A photo of a handgun accompanied the caption.
In that case, even careful scrutiny of social media might not have alerted the authorities to Brinsley’s plans because his spelling was so poor, but his Instagram posts were being repeated (sometimes favorably!) on many accounts. There was information there to be found if we’d known where to look.
And if that Brinsley case sounds like it’s too one sided against the Social Justice Warriors, what about the Charleston church shooter? Dylann Roof had a “sparse social media presence” as described on the Left, but the hints were there on Facebook between Roof and some of his friends. We once again heard the cries of, why didn’t somebody say something? Why didn’t we learn of it before it was too late?
Before this turned into an SJW battle cry, the media was far more amendable to law enforcement using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms as a tool. Here’s one glowing report from CNN back in 2012 which made it look like the good guys were really on to something great.
Leveraging Facebook is just one of many ways law enforcement officials are gleaning evidence from social media to help them solve crimes.
Police look at what information is public and sometimes create fake online identities to befriend suspects and view their private information. Authorities also can request private data directly from social networks with subpoenas or warrants, or make an emergency request for user information if they think there’s an imminent threat of danger.
These techniques are slowly catching on across the country. According to a recent survey of 1,221 federal, state and local law enforcement who use social media, four out of five officials used social media to gather intelligence during investigations. Half said they checked social media at least once a week, and the majority said social media helps them solve crimes faster.
Of course, now that it involves the Black Lives Matter movement, the entire idea is verboten. While there are plenty of people using that hashtag and discussing social issues in a peaceful fashion, there is zero doubt that some subsets of users are all on board with “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” or “what do we want, dead cops” on any given day. If investigators aren’t monitoring such public communications for hints of people planning violence (whether it’s anti-cop violence or attacks on black churches) then they aren’t doing their jobs in the 21st century. But as soon as the question touches on a politically correct group in favor with the liberals, it’s suddenly a bad thing.
Nobody in Oregon was having their house broken into by the cops or being followed around. They were reading tweets. The fact that this was shut down and shunned because some activists found it to be raaaaacist or offensive is a travesty.