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Wendi C. Thomas @wendi_c_thomas
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Court is back in session: ACLU wants longtime ACLU attorney and local member Bruce Kramer to testify to clear up some of the discrepancy about the history of the West TN chapter. Problem is...
Kramer has been sitting in court all morning and he’s the attorney for the four plaintiffs who were dismissed because the judge decided they didn’t have standing.
Looks like Kramer is going to leave now and get deposed later tonight. Defense isn’t liking this at all, but they’re not protesting too much. Judge is directing Kramer to produce any relevant documents.
Judge has given two warnings about not broadcasting or recording proceedings. Two other members of the press have laptops out. Not sure if these rules apply to tweeting, but if my posts suddenly stop, that’s why.
@MEM_PoliceDept Sgt. Tim Reynolds is back on the stand. @aclutn attorney Mandy Strickland is showing screen grabs of “Bob Smith” friendship status with local organizers/activists, including Spencer Katz, @tamisawyer, Al Lewis, Paul Garner and Bradley Watkins.
This account friended Sawyer in July 2015, a year before the Bridge protests or any #TakeEmDown901 organizing. IDK what she was doing then to warrant surveillance. Then again, I don’t see evidence that any of this warranted violating the consent decree, which MPD did.
ACLU shows screenshot of Aug. 7, 2016 FB post made by “Bob Smith,” who is really Sgt. Tim Reynolds, in which he railed against entitlement programs and wrote: “As a man of color...”

Q: Just for the record, you are not a man of color?”

Reynolds doesn’t answer directly.
Q from plaintiff’s attny: Why did that need to be posted?

Reynolds: I don’t know. It just did.
So this was a surprise (as folks turned to look at me in the courtroom): This fake FB account maintained by @MEM_PoliceDept was following me on FB too.

Listen. I’ve been saying for years: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone’s not watching you.
@aclutn attorney Floyd: Who is this? (With a screen shot of who “Bob Smith” was following on FB was on the screen.

Reynolds: Wendi Thomas. Wendi C. Thomas.

Q: Who is she?

Reynolds: She used to write for the Commercial Appeal.
I stay at the 5,000 FB friend limit, which is why “Bob Smith,” the fake FB account @MEM_PoliceDept used to spy on residents, would have had to follow me.

And y’all wonder why, when someone pulled a gun on me on the interstate, I didn’t want to call police.
Twice I filed police reports for threats I got while a columnist at @memphisnews. One was a death threat, the other was a rape threat in 2014.

These were actual threats of physical violence because of columns I’d written about Nathan Bedford Forrest.
I was, of course, just exercising my 1A rights.

Neither the police nor the editor of the CA at the time (Louis Graham, who is advising the new @uofmemphis investigative reporting center) took the threats seriously.
Now fast forward to 2017, just before I launched @MLK50Memphis. I was told that omeone from the city administration went to the National Civil Rights Museum and told them not to partner with me because I was too divisive.
On behalf of local government, an employee or official (my source wouldn’t say whom) tried to thwart/derail my efforts to build a local reporting project.

That’s like a textbook definition of a 1A violation.

Nevertheless, I persisted. 🤷🏽‍♀️
Back to the case: Reynolds has said the fake Bob Smith account was started after the Darrius Stewart killing by a @MEM_PoliceDept officer, but we just saw a screenshot of a photo Smith liked in October 2013, more than a year before Darrius was killed.
Reynolds testified that non-law enforcement organizations would be added to the list of joint intelligence briefing sometimes if they asked to be, or if something suspicious had been reported (by whom, it’s not clear).
This is central to the @aclutn case, because @MEM_PoliceDept was sending these JIBs to FedEx (Frank McGowan), Autozone (Jerry Blum) and St. Jude (former MPD director Toney Armstrong), where retired MPD officers were in charge of security.
In March 2017, @MEM_PoliceDept was still sending joint intelligence briefings (JIBs) to Jerry Blum of FedEx. And within the last six months - one year, Blum was still receiving these JIBs.

The distribution list for these JIBs was culled in the last 6-12 months. says Reynolds.
QTNA: Why are publicly traded companies getting intelligence briefings from @MEM_PoliceDept office of homeland security?
This is fascinating. So Reynolds went to a gathering on Jackson at a grocery store. He wrote in his report that they sent police from Crump Station and that it was peaceful.
So then Reynolds reports on another event that he says is being organized by the same woman who organized the King’s grocery gathering on Jackson that was peaceful. This time, she’s having a gathering at the Den on Marshall.
The description shown on the screen sounds like a support group. Organizer Allyson Truly wrote “If you need to cry, f*cking cry... If you need comfort, I got you.” She describes the den as black-owned and private. This is in Reynold’s July 6, 2016 memo to MPD.
@MEM_PoliceDept Major Eddie Bass replied to Reynold’s memo: This has the potential for another adverse gathering.”

Another? Reynolds had just testified that Truly’s other gathering on Jackson was peaceful!
Reynold’s testimony suggests that he believed Truly was trying to circumvent the permitting process by holding gatherings on private property.

Attorney asks if you need a permit to gather on private property. Reynolds says no but...
But if people have a tendency to take a private protest and take it mobile, then it becomes a problem. Events on private property can still spill out on the street and roads, Reynolds testified.
AFTER a peaceful vigil in July 2016 at @NCRMuseum, Reynolds asked Col. Gloria Bullock of MPD for better photos of the crowd.

The event was peaceful, so it’s unclear why Reynolds needed photos of people who were exercising their 1A rights.
Oh, we took a break about 20 minutes ago and Reynolds, the cop who has been pretending to be a man of color on FB, got in the elevator.

You know I did too (and two sisters who were here hopped in too, for which I’m grateful). I stuck out my hand and introduced myself.
I asked and asked why he was following me on FB. He said he couldn’t talk about it.

He was sweating a lot.

It’s cold in the court but maybe it’s hot on the witness stand.
Reynolds listed in a July 14, 2016 Joint Intelligence Briefing boycotts scheduled at G Market, Walmart and another unnamed place.

Reynolds: “MPD/OHS is now going to start listing boycotts as unpermitted protests.”
That’s odd. One of the boycotts doesn’t even have a time, so if people start NOT shopping somewhere on a certain day, how would you consider that an unpermitted protest?

Do other police departments do this?
Judge McCalla has asked @aclutn attorney Floyd twice to pick up the pace. He just asked her how far along she is with this witness.

She says she’s half done, but that this will be the longest questioning she has.
@MEM_PoliceDept Tim Reynolds, who created the fake FB account “Bob Smith” to monitor activists included in a Joint Intelligence Briefing a Feb. 2017 @fightfor15 teach-in at First Congregational Church.
Even though Reynolds wrote, “Social media calls this a teach-in to discuss the state of the movement,” in the same briefing he says that the event is “very advantageous for a possible protest.”

Now remember, NONE of these protests have been violent. Not one.
Yet @MEM_PoliceDept Reynolds is sharing details about a teach-in at a church with law enforcement agencies.

This monitoring, city attorneys argued this am, was only designed to keep the public and officers safe.

Safe from... a @fightfor15 teach-in? At a church?
@aclutn attorney Floyd is methodically walking through dozens of emails and briefings sent/compiled by @MEM_PoliceDept Tim Reynolds re various events, gatherings and suspected protests (some of which never materialized, all of which were peaceful).
One of those events swept into this net was an October 2016 Memphis Voices for Palestine protest outside the new Kroger on Union. Lt. Col. Dana Sampietro wrote a memo on it and noted the event was permitted.
Reynolds replied that Tami Sawyer, Keedran Franklin and Earle Fisher all support MVP.

It’s unclear why Reynolds said this or what public safety purpose was served by this.
Court is in recess. Judge says we’ll be starting tomorrow at 8:45 am, with Reynolds, ACLU attorney Bruce Kramer and Mike Cody.
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