The Commercial Appeal has an article about the events yesterday at First Congo Church and the harassment of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center by the FBI and the MPD Tactical unit. You can read the article
The FBI and MPD are not being honest with the public....and I for one would like to know who gave this order? Who knew about this beforehand?......and frankly...how long is our Mayor and the City Council going to allow all these "misunderstandings" to occur? First Duanna Johnson, then the Sweep of the homeless...now this.
Look..here's what happened...I was the person at the Center who spoke to the FBI Agents and was there when the Tactical unit arrived.
3 FBI agents came to the offices of the MSPJC at around 2pm. As we rent space in First Congo Church and as our office were open, they thought we were the church offices..at first. They claimed that they were there to alert us to anti-war activists planning a PROTEST outside our building.I informed them that we were a Pro Peace organization and having an indoors meeting as was stated in our press release, not a protest and who we were as an org. They left seeming kinda embarrassed that they came to warn us about our own meeting.
From 4-5:30 we were under intense MPD surveillance, "2 cruisers and 6 tactical squad SUV's".
MPD claims that they were there for OUR protection, yet at no point did anyone actually call to see if we needed protection, nor would they say protection from whom?
The officers on the scene admitted that they did not even know where in the church our offices were...so how could they protect us?
They refused to leave and refused to tell us where the order was from.
AT NO POINT WAS ANY WARNING GIVEN ABOUT ANY KIND OF THREAT FROM EXTREMISTS FROM ANYONE...."Nonsense"
Mr Joel Siskovic from the FBI is flat out lying. We called the FBI numerous times yesterday afternoon and evening and received no answer from them at all. More importantly..the agents never warned me about anything in anyway..accept warning us about our own meeting.With us as the threat...
Look we share space with a Church, a daycare, a youth hostel, therapy groups, mid wife classes, belly dancing classes,a music program for kids,a clothes closet for the homeless and a bicycle co'op among many other things...if there was a real threat..then we and our neighbors would have needed to know.
Now...now they claim this was a misunderstanding....but here's the bottom line.
1. This organization has hosted over a dozen protests, and each time we have a major event we get a permit from MPD. We even have to pay MPD for a Police presence at our protest...over time as we have a history of nonviolent protest..they rarely bother anymore.MPD's office of permits will confirm this.
2. Does anyone have a phone anymore?
IF...IF...IF all that happened was a simple "misunderstanding"...then why was there no call to confirm the nature of the event? Why did they not read our press release?
3. Does it seem odd to anyone else that when we have a meeting about activists filing FOIA requests to reveal FBI surveillance...that the FBI and the MPD Tactical unit shows up. This has never happened before....
4. IF...if..all this was a simple "misunderstanding" then why did MPD not say so before the Media asked them about it?
5. Around that same time calls came in on Shelby County Deputies harassment while checking warrants at the DeCleyre co'op near the University of Memphis and local socialist, social justice and anarchist orgs have reported harassment and warrant checks all going down today.
Yet MPD claims these events are all unrelated.
This is about intimidation and abuse of law enforcement powers...and only now that the media has covered the story has all the backtracking occurred, and we are not going to let this go unanswered.
Mid-South Peace and Justice Center