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News

Philadelphia Police Requested Federal Agents To 'Infiltrate' BLM Protests, Emails Show

Black Lives Matter Philly march in November 2020.
Black Lives Matter Philly march in November 2020. Photo Credit: Black Lives Matter Philly Facebook

The Philadelphia police department has asked federal agents to ‘infiltrate’ social justice marches last June, according to emails obtained by DC think tank Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

A Philadelphia police sergeant asked a Drug Enforcement Agency agent to assign personnel to “infiltrate crowds for intel purposes” on June 2, the emails say.

Within 30 minutes of receiving the email, the DEA agent obtained approval from Principal Deputy DEA Administrator Preston Grubbs -- the agency’s second highest ranking official -- to conduct “covert surveillance from within protests in the city of Philadelphia” in order to “identify protest leaders.”

City spokesperson Deana Gamble described the DEA’s involvement as “general assistance” that was “unfortunately couched as ‘infiltration’ by the requesting officer,” according to CREW.

An existing city policy bars undercover surveillance at demonstrations without written approval, so this ‘infiltration’ would be in go against that policy, as critics told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The coordination supposedly did not "rise to the level" of needing written approval,  Mayor Kenney and police told the Inquirer.

It is unknown how many DEA agents were sent and/or successful ‘infiltrated’ the marches.

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