The Los Angeles Police Department reportedly ordered an informant to attend meetings held by the Los Angeles chapter of Refuse Fascism, a group that’s organized anti-Trump protests. On four occasions in 2017, the informant used a hidden recorder to tape meetings as police prepared for large demonstrations marking the end of Trump’s first year in office, The Los Angeles Times reports. Ultimately, an anonymous source told the newspaper, officials concluded that the group was not a threat. But this move has sowed distrust among civil-rights groups. “When you know that your investigation is going to infringe on core political rights that communities have, you have to be damn near certain that there is some criminal activity afoot,” said ACLU staff attorney Mohammad Tasjar.
Yesenia Cruz, a member of Refuse Fascism, said “there’s no reason that these people have to be sent in to spy on peaceful protesters who are speaking out about crimes against humanity.” This information came to light as part of an ongoing legal matter regarding members of Refuse Fascism who were charged with criminal trespass for blocking a freeway during an anti-Trump protest in 2017.