In their efforts to inform the public that they were doing everything possible to manage the spontaneous combustion of several homes, the Massachusetts State Police inadvertently let a few organizations fighting to end police brutality, racism and the reign of Donald Trump, know that they are being watched.
On Friday, as homes throughout Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley exploded from a gas line problem, the Massachusetts State Police sent out a tweet from its official account asking people to evacuate their homes if they lived in certain areas of the state. To show the locations, they included a screenshot of one of the MSP Watch Center’s computers with a map.
Social media sleuths quickly noticed the bookmarks on the computer were related to a few anti-police violence organizations as well as an anti-Trump organization and a “resistance” calendar of events in the area.
According to WBUR, the first bookmark, “MAAPB,” is Mass Action Against Police Brutality, a group whose stated goal is to “end police brutality and institutional racism,” which is clearly a threat to public safety and should be monitored. If MAAPB is successful in stopping police violence and racism, what the hell would the cops do on days when there weren’t any natural gas explosions?
COMBAT, another bookmarked site, is the Coalition to Organize and Mobilize Boston Against Trump, who say they are a “grassroots, intersectional coalition of students, artists, and workers organizing creatively to resist all forms of oppression.”
Look, I don’t claim to be a criminologist or anything, but whenever you start using words like “intersectional,” “coalition” or “oppression,” you should expect the police to be watching. That’s what they do—oppress intersectional coalitions. It’s literally in the job description.
Another site, the Massachusetts Resistance Calendar was also saved. The site lists upcoming anti-Trump protests around the state.
The state police deleted the tweet and shared another cropped image as soon as they noticed it, but we all know that the internet is undefeated at bringing up old shit, forcing the agency to deny that they were monitoring any groups.
The Massachusetts State Police would only say that they have a responsibility to “prepare for all large, public gatherings,” and released a statement with one of the lamest excuses of all time:
We, obviously, need to know if large numbers of people, for whatever reason, are going to be on public roadways or public spaces, so that we may ensure the safety and rights of those who have gathered as well as of the members of the public around them.
I’m going to have to use that one to see if it works. It sounds as lame as a teenager’s explanation to his mom when he was caught masturbating or when you go to the bathroom at work to wash your hands and it smells like a dookey bomb exploded but someone comes in behind you and thinks you did it, and you really want to explain that your insides don’t smell like rotting roadkill but you don’t know how to say it.
David Propocio, an MSP spokesperson, told The Guardian that: “We do not collect information about – nor, frankly, do we care about – any group’s beliefs or opinions,” but would not comment on the reasoning the groups were bookmarked when pressed about it.
This screenshot was taken at the MSP Watch Center, an information-gathering initiative that is known for monitoring Black Lives Matter, high school anti-racism student groups, and even a black Boston city councilman who happened to mention the word “Ferguson” on Facebook one day.
But I understand this is a public safety initiative, which is why I downloaded the app that tells me when the Krispy Kreme ‘hot’ light comes on. And no, I’m not monitoring it
I obviously, need to know if large numbers of hot, soft, mouthwateringly delicious donuts are going to be coming off the belt so that I may ensure the safety and rights of all pastries as well as the stomachs of the people who want to devour them.