FBI Making House Calls to Potential RNC Protesters in Minneapolis? We Called and Asked
An email was sent to Unicorn Riot alerting the independent media scene of FBI activities in Minneapolis.
The emailer claimed, “[On] June 30th, two FBI agents, Christopher L and Harlen J, stopped by the home of some friends in south Minneapolis trying to find me. From what I’ve been told they said they wanted to talk to me about, ‘keeping things peaceful in Cleveland.’ It sounds like they were visiting at the request of the FBI in Cleveland and from what I can tell at this point they haven’t looked anywhere else for me.”
We called the FBI Minneapolis Chief Division Counsel, Kyle Loven and asked what was going on.
Loven: “We don’t ask people if they’re going to attend the conference.”
NSP: “Do you ask people if they’re going to attend a protest?”
Loven: “Protesters are obviously Constitutionally protected. IF they’re legitimate protesters, there’s no worry whatsoever. The fbi has no interest in legitimate protests.”
The Intercept reported, “More than a dozen people in the Cleveland area have reported being visited this week by local police, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Secret Service.”
The Feds issued a statement justifying these door knocks – “Law enforcement is reaching out to individuals known in the community who may have information that could help to ensure a safe and secure environment during the RNC.”
The National Lawyers Guild and others decried these sometimes intimidating visits by warning of the chilling effect they might have on First Amendment activities.
These questionable house calls follow a lawsuit won by the ACLU against the city of Cleveland. The LA Times reported “U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin said he would issue a preliminary injunction forcing the city of Cleveland to rewrite its restrictions for a potentially contentious convention expected to draw up to 100,000 politicians, delegates, supporters, protesters and media.”
The activist who first brought the actions of the FBI in Minneapolis to light closed by saying, “Repression will happen so be prepared and make your actions worth it. Don’t be foolish but do be bold. Stand with each other and seek the power that comes from being together not the illusion of power that comes from undermining one another.”
When news first broke of these house calls, activists and others offered advice on Twitter.
Never talk to the FBI. A common trick is to ask a question they know the answer to. If you lie, it’s a federal crime. So don’t ever talk.
— B meson (@B_Meson) June 23, 2016