According to documents obtained by VICE via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has consistently monitored the twitter account of highly lauded civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson since the Ferguson uprising in August 2014.
Referring to him as a “professional protester,” McKesson’s Twitter and other social media accounts came under increased focus from intelligence officials during the height of the Baltimore uprising following the death of Freddie Gray.
Mckesson boasts more than 200,000 followers on Twitter, and uses social media to keep the public informed about the Black Lives Matter movement. Teach for America, which gaveMckesson the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership last month, said his “deft use of social media provided Ferguson citizens with a viral voice.”
Crockford pointed out that Mckesson was arrested on Monday in St. Louis by an official “wearing an overly militarized ‘Department of Homeland Security’ outfit,” simply because he was “just standing and asking questions, committing no crimes.”
Mckesson was in St. Louis participating in protests marking the one-year anniversary of the death of teenager Michael Brown, who was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Mckesson was arrested during a sit-in at the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis, and was issued a summons for allegedly obstructing the courthouse doorways.