Last Friday, February 17th 2017, it was brought to the attention of the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center that the City of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department had a secret surveillance list, which has been popularly referred to as the Memphis Black List. The list is made up of 84 people, some of which are social justice advocates and activists, community organizers, former city employees, and Mary Stewart -the mother of 19 year old Darrius Stewart who was killed by Officer Connor Schilling in the summer of 2015. How and why this list was formed is still a mystery to all -apart from our City Mayor, Jim Strickland, and Memphis Police Director, Michael Rallings.
Though Mayor Strickland has pretty consistently claimed to not have knowledge of the list, and that it was carried over from the former administration (which can be read here), he also admits to signing part of the list. You can see the list in full for yourself below. Despite the story breaking only last week, many have already spoken out about whether or not the Strickland Administration, and Memphis Police Department, are legally able to create such lists for surveillance of citizens. Among those to speak out was Attorney Bruce Kramer, who stated: “…the list may violate a federal court order issued in 1978 in response to a lawsuit he litigated on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. The consent decree banned political surveillance following revelations the department spied on civil rights activists, war protesters and other “radicals” for years.” (Read more here.)
We would also strongly encourage you to reach out to Mayor Strickland on behalf of your 84 community neighbors under surveillance, let him know what you think of his secret surveillance list, and demand a logical answer about its creation. All of his contact information is listed below.
Mayor Jim Strickland
125 N. Main St. Room 700
Memphis, TN 38103
To follow more on the Memphis Black List here are a list of links to news coverage: