This week’s FOIA round-up: Using FBI records to uncover hate crime history, medical marijuana takes a hit as cannabis becomes more legalized, and The New York Times calls for police transparency
In this week’s FOIA round-up, a photographer used Federal Bureau of Investigation records to track down the location where a man was murdered 50 years ago for a photo project on the white power movemnt, medical marijuana registry data shows a decline in the rate of medical marijuana patients, and the New York Times Editorial Board calls for a repeal of law that keeps police misconduct records secret.
FBI’s plan to send forged letters to expel Black Panther Party members was thwarted by a lack of stationery
Documents from the Federal Bureau Investigation reveal that as part of COINTELPRO, the Bureau once attempted to impersonate a redacted Black Panther Party official in forged letters to expel “fringe” members. That plan was ultimately never brought to fruition, but not due to any last-minute attack of conscience - the FBI had simply run out of the right stationery.
The Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.
While a not-insignificant percentage of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities under Director J. Edgar Hoover were driven by personal vendettas, few were as well-known – or as publicly vicious – as Hoover’s feud with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. That clash quite literally came to a head on December 1, 1964, when, at the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, Hoover invited King to FBI headquarters for their first - and only - face to face meeting, captured in a ten-page memo in King’s file.
Last year, we filed a request for Corey Stewart’s various Confederate-related correspondence, and received it around the time Stewart voiced support for a white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Robert E. Lee statue. Three months later, a much larger rally dubbed “Unite the Right” saw Heather Heyer killed by a neo-Nazi. MuckRock duplicated the original request for emails, with the addition of keywords related to the rally. We received 21 pages of emails, none written by Stewart.
Throughout the ’60s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous COINTELPRO operations targeted what it called “Black Nationalist Hate Groups,” for surveillance, infiltration, and ultimately, disruption. It was to that end in March 1968 that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo to the New York field office, authorizing the use of the Bureau’s secret weapon against the Nation of Islam: the zine.