Policing Dissent: Police Surveillance of Lawful Political Activity in Boston

Nov 01, 2012
  • Description

The Boston Police Department (BPD) and its fusion spying center, the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), have for years been tracking and creating criminal "intelligence reports" on the lawful political activity of peace groups and local leaders, including a former Boston City Councilor and the late Boston University Professor Howard Zinn, according to documents obtained by the ACLU of Massachusetts and the National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter (NLG). Officers monitor demonstrations, track the beliefs and internal dynamics of activist groups, and document this information with misleading criminal labels in searchable and possibly widely-shared electronic reports. This collection and retention of data regarding people's constitutionally protected speech and beliefs — with no link to terrorism or a crime —violates federal privacy regulations and the BRIC's own privacy policies.