Privacy SOS

“Homeland Security” cops visit activist’s home to ask her about her Facebook posts

"Homeland Security" cops are monitoring your Facebook posts about Ferguson related protests, and they don't like it when you say you're going to "target" officials or locations for protest.

An organizer in Pennsylvania learned this the hard way. The Philly Declaration reports:

Laura Krasovitzky, a University of Pennsylvania student organizer, tells The Declaration that she was visited on the morning of December 8th by a Philadelphia Police Department detective, who she soon learned was in the Homeland Security Bureau, asking about posts in a Facebook group.

“The detective told me he was there because of specific language I used in the notes I posted on the ‘Ferguson to Philly’ Facebook group after the town hall meeting of Dec. 2. He had the notes printed out,” Krasovitzky says.

Krasovitzky, who says she is active in several causes but has been mostly focused on work with Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), which has been heavily engaged in actions responding to both the Ferguson and Staten Island non-indictments. SOUL staged a die-in attended by hundreds last week, and was represented at a December 2 town hall meeting held by community organizers in response to the verdicts. That community forum produced a list of “movement demands” – and language contained in that list brought Detective Ray Rycek to her dorm room at 11:00 AM.

He wanted to know about language in the notes which Krasovitzky had posted to the page, notes the student organizer had collected from various participants in a related working group from the Calvary meeting, she says, which described “targeting” the Christmas Village at Love Park, “targeting” disgraced and rehired Philly cop Jonathan Josey, and “targeting” Commissioner Charles Ramsey in an upcoming protest action. The Dignitary Protection Division detective told Krasovitzky that this was considered threatening, and questioned her regarding any plans for violence against the Commissioner or other persons.

Read more from The Declaration to see what these police tried to get Krasovitzky to sign before they'd leave her alone.

Did the cops seriously think that she would tell them if she had any intention of harming these people? Did they seriously think she would post public information about it on Facebook if her intention was violence? Is there any indication that this kind of public, well-worn organizing intends to violently attack people activists are, yes, targeting with their voices, signs, and bodies? No. So why was the "homeland security" squad there? Maybe to frighten and intimidate young people away from organizing and expressing their First Amendment rights?

The CIA long ago said that the most effective way for the government to justify spying on dissidents is to call them terrorists. Different agency, different day, apparently same playbook.

Your tax dollars at work.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.