MPD consent decree meeting disintegrates

Monitoring MPD for illegal surveillance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Community Engagement Forum was held Thursday night to let the public know if the Memphis Police Department is complying with a federal judge’s order concerning social media searches.

The monitoring team, formed by the court, tried to inform the crowd about their progress but things disintegrated after about an hour.

“We have been working literally weekly around the clock to ensure compliance,” said Ed Stanton, head of monitoring team.

Former US Attorney Ed Stanton is head of the court-appointed team set up to monitor the Memphis Police Department.

The monitoring team was formed after a federal court found that the Memphis Police Department violated portions of a 40-year old consent decree involving “conducting political intelligence” by spying on protesters through a fake Facebook account under the name “Bob Smith."

It was the first meeting with the community. The team is made up of experts from around the country.

The people in the room, many of them activists, became forceful at times.

“First of all, I want to recognize the intensity in this room," one man said.

Memphis Police Deputy Chief Don Crowe tried to assure the crowd.

“I want to share with you, we are cooperating with the monitoring team," said Crowe.

Many in the crowd were not impressed.

Stanton told the crowd repeatedly there is a website or letters that can be sent to the monitoring team about any issues people might have. He said if they don’t want to contact the team the ACLU that brought the lawsuit is available.

The meeting disintegrated when one man said he was not comfortable being in a room with police.

“One more thing, there’s two pigs down here. Are they collecting, writing people’s names down," he said.

Chief Crowe shared his notes which consisted of comments from the crowd. Many people started leaving.

The monitoring team is bound by what the federal court tells them to do.

For more information about what the team is doing and to leave concerns, click here.

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