The Memphis Police Department has a watch list of Black Lives Matter protesters — a fact that has come to light decades after the department was barred from spying on civil rights activists.
The list, which includes the names, race, gender, height, weight and corresponding photographs of several well-known activists, bars those listed from entering the Memphis City Hall without an escort.
The list infringes on the civil rights of those it profiles. MPD also appears to be in violation of the 1978 federal decree it was handed following revelations the department spied on civil rights activists and other protesters for years, spurring the American Civil Liberties Union to sue them.
MPD Director Michael Rallings defended the list Tuesday, saying it was instead related to "security."
"It's not a political list," Rallings said, as reported by The Commercial Appeal. "I've sat down with a lot of the individuals prior to a protest or an event, so it's not about that. It's about safety."
"A lot of people question the things we do, for instance why we take security measures and stances," he added.
Councilmember Janis Fullilove told media she was "livid" to hear about the policy.
"There should not be a list of people who have done nothing," she said. "This is not the Trump era. You go against Trump and you're on the list. It should not be that way."