Report: Police Monitored African-American Groups in Chicago

Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP
Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

A report by the Chicago Sun-Times reveals that the Chicago Police Department started a special program to monitor local African-American groups after the death of Michael Brown and the ensuing riots in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.

On Saturday October 10, the Sun-Times reported that the CPD began tracking the social media posts of local African-American groups and kept a log of demonstrations around the Chicago area.

The CPD also tracked the movements of Reverend Jesse Jackson of Operation Push. One Jackson event monitored was a protest advocating raising the minimum wage.

The report also details the warnings of an informant who said that a protest that was to occur last November might turn violent if the Ferguson Grand Jury was to turn out to favor the police department in Ferguson.

The Sun-Times also learned that the city’s lawyers approved of the programs to monitor black groups.

“We have lawyers working side by side with police officers making sure people’s rights are protected,” city spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the paper.

But city lawyers noted that they were monitoring publicly available information and didn’t initiate any wire taps or other such clandestine monitoring systems.

“We’re not the NSA. We’re not the CIA,” Guglielmi added.

The paper also said that no other agencies assisted the city on this monitoring.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at


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