Thanks to a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I had the privilege of visiting both North and South Dakota and speak with witnesses and victims of the widespread police violence that occurred on the north border of the Standing Rock Reservation. There will be plenty of follow-up in the weeks to come, but while the memory’s still fresh, I wanted to share an initial reflection from traveling to the treaty lands of the Dakotas.
We’ve all seen the lines of police at protests donning head to toe armor, batons and/or launchers at the ready, glowering down at protesters through face shields. But how much does all that gear cost? According to the early returns on riot gear budgeting requests we have been filing, quite a lot.
In trying to learn more about how police respond to demonstrations, MuckRock has been consistently met with exemptions and pushback, often with entire records releases being denied. Let us curate the five worst examples of this we have come across in the last few months.
Emails released by the North Charleston Police Department show that after the fatal shooting of Walter Scott in 2015 by former NCPD officer Michael Slager, the department closely monitored the social media accounts of activists, in addition to compiling information - including court histories - regarding Scott’s family.
In a democracy, the power of the people comes from the ability to hold their government accountable. We’re launching a project to provide a comprehensive list of FOIA resources that will help you to prepare, participate, and investigate protests. Today, we’ll be examining three pivotal protests of the past decade in America – Occupy Wall Street, Ferguson and NoDAPL.