[Police misconduct has long been a focus of activists–of those subjected to false arrests and false imprisonments, of targets of racial profiling, and of those facing attacks on and police suppression of political advocacy, of opposition to the systemic oppression of targeted communities, of class struggles, international solidarity movements, and revolutionary movements.
The history of such misconduct runs throughout US history—from the suppression of slave resistance and the abolition movements, of the insurgent working class and trade union movements, the resistance of Native American, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian and other occupied and colonized people, the McCarthy “Red Scares”, and the attacks on the civil rights and Black Liberation movements.
Major political challenges to systemic police misconduct have been organized at various times. The Black Panther Party’s campaigns for community control of police, organizing to make local police conduct transparent and accountable and prosecutable, was a major advance in re-setting even the concept of community control. And, after the FBI’s COINTELPRO program was exposed—a nationwide program to confuse, provoke, entrap, imprison and eliminate political opposition—activists unearthed many of the hidden local instruments of this FBI terror program, and in some places forced new policies on local and state levels against the abusive police.
But even where such fights have been won, police misconduct has continued to be common. FBI (and other repressive instruments)—now systematized under the banner of Department of Homeland Security—has worked to circumvent restraints on official abuse, whether by illegal surveillance and wiretapping, racial profiling, or ICE raids and mass deportations, to mention but a few.
The following article from the San Francisco Bay Guardian details the FBI’s enabling of police abuses, and their circumventing of restraints on San Francisco Police Department’s abuses. – Frontlines ed.]
A secret memo indicates that SF cops may be working as FBI spies — with no local oversight
April 26, 2011
Sarah Phelan, SF Bay Guardian
San Francisco cops assigned to the FBI’s terrorism task force can ignore local police orders and California privacy laws to spy on people without any evidence of a crime.
That’s what a recently released memo appears to say — and it has sent shockwaves through the civil liberties community. Continue reading