HideTechdirt is off for Thanksgiving! We'll be back with our regular posts on Monday.
HideTechdirt is off for Thanksgiving! We'll be back with our regular posts on Monday.

Louisiana Police Appear To Be Using A Hoax Antifa List Created By 8Chan To Open Criminal Investigations

from the cause-is-supposed-to-be-probable,-not-theoretically-possible dept

A public records request sent to the Louisiana State Police has uncovered something disturbing. Although the LSP continues to refuse to release the document in question, it appears this law enforcement agency has been using a bogus list of supposed Antifa members compiled by 8chan users to keep tabs on Americans opposed to Trump.

The public records lawsuit [PDF] filed by Harvard lecturer (and former staff attorney for Orleans Public Defenders) Thomas Frampton on behalf of records requester William Most, alleges law enforcement's refusal to hand over the "antifa.docx" file referenced in obtained emails is an indication the state police actually believe this bogus "Antifa" list -- compiled from a list of signatories to an anti-Trump petition -- is credible enough to be used in ongoing investigations and litigation.

Here's Frampton's summation of the situation, as gleaned from the state police's responses to Most's repeated requests for a copy of the Antifa doc.

On August 27, 2018, while searching through the first batch of 64 emails, Mr. Most noticed several high-ranking LSP officers sharing a document entitled “full list of antifa.docx” in August 2017. The dossier was also shared with non-LSP law enforcement, including an official from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The LSP “Antifa” emails were sent just days after the conspiracy theory website “8Chan” published a fake dossier of what purported to be a full list of “Antifa.” The hoax was promoted on Neo-Nazi websites like Stormfront. The purported “Antifa” roster contains the names of thousands of ordinary, law-abiding citizens who signed an online petition against President Trump.

LSP has refused to disclose the “full list of antifa.docx” records. The Agency claims that releasing the document could “compromise” an ongoing criminal investigation in which LSP anticipates arrests, and reveal the identity of its “Confidential Informant.”

This suggests two things, neither of which make the LSP look any better. Either it truly believes the hoax doc is real, rather than just names take from an online petition, or it's trying to avoid having to admit it was duped by a confidential informant, even if only temporarily.

The ever-present resistance to transparency by the state police is detailed in the filed motion as well. It's not just the appearance of an undelivered "antifa.docx" file in an email string, but the agency's refusal to meet court-ordered timelines or even begin work on fulfillment when its public records team says it will.

Defendant has completely withheld access to hundreds of records responsive to the Plaintiff's initial and modified request, but this lawsuit deals only with the inspection of five (5) specific records, the attachments to the five emails identified in [Paragraph]l19 of this Petition. Defendant has withheld these records after months of arbitrary and capricious stalling and delay; first negligently, apparently, then intentionally; despite multiple offers by Mr. Most to accept redacted portions of the record; and notwithstanding good-faith pre-litigation efforts by Mr. Most to explain to Louisiana State Police why the records are not exempt from disclosure.

But it's the Antifa doc that's making headlines. Alone it could mean nothing more than something passed around by law enforcement officers and officials before being discarded. Coupled with the LSP's insistence that release of the document would compromise both an investigation and its confidential informant, the refusal to release the docx file suggests the agency has opened investigations predicated on a hoax. However strongly one may feel about the criminality of Antifa's actions, there's nothing in this document justifying investigations and surveillance of people who did nothing more than sign an online petition. If the LSP fell for a hoax and opened investigations based on protected speech (the signing of online petitions), it's going to be facing a lot more litigation in the future.


Reader Comments

The First Word

If members of a local Klan chapter have broken no laws, I see no reason why those racist idiots should not be allowed to associate with each other and spout their racist bile to anyone who will listen. Someone’s association with a group that has heinous or hateful views should not, on its own, serve as proof of criminal activity.

If I assumed you were a criminal because you signed that petition and I found out you or a direct relative of yours was on that AntiFa list, I should be called out (and righfully so) for making such a foolish assumption. That sentiment remains the same if you replace “AntiFa” with “Democrats”, “socialists”, or “Juggalos”. And yes, I know the history of the Klan and its reign of violence across the South. But unless the police can prove that a Klan member has committed a crime and tie that crime back to other Klan members, being in the Klan should not in and of itself be considered proof of criminality. It could be a reason to suspect someone of criminal behavior, but nothing more.

Do not think of my position here as a positive view of the Klan. I despise their ideology and, if I could do so, I would sooner banish them from the world altogether than give them the time of day. But even racists have the right to associate with one another and not be considered criminals just because of their views. The First Amendment demands we protect that right, regardless of whether we like those views.

—Stephen T. Stone
made the First Word by Ninja

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 10:53am

    supporting documents

    ...are not mentioned.

    *IF* a LE agency gets a list of names from Source X that xrefs with names of "known members" from undisputed source - say arrest records positively, then YES, it's part of an ongoing investigation.

    Sure, an online petition is going to have a lot of "innocent" names on it. But if there's even ONE name on it that crosslinks to a true ANTIFA member, it's a supporting document and the LSP is correct in refusing to release it.

    The lesson here is simple: Don't sign online petitions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 10:59am

      Re: supporting documents

      Or they could release the list while redacting the names that they are investigating.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re: supporting documents

        You're assuming LSP proper is handling this.

        They're not. It's lawyers on both sides of the issue.

        A request from either side is ALWAYS met with "hell, NO!" until pressure can be applied to free it up.

        Which is why I usually have a problem with this type of story. Once lawyers get involved, it's a bird's nest of red tape and bureaucracy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:13am

          Re: Re: Re: supporting documents

          "Which is why I usually have a problem with this type of story."

          The story is about citizens having a document known to be a complete fabrication used against them for legal purposes - and your main problem with it is that police are being blamed for the coverup attempt instead of lawyers? Wow.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Sep 2018 @ 5:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: supporting documents

            If we can't sign online petitions for fear of having our views used against us by police while they're evading accountability, what freedom do we have?

            I can call London's Lord Mayor Siddique Khan a douchebag if I want to. I can even print his face on them and sell them if I want to, knowing that he'd fall on his prat laughing about it as he did at *that* balloon of him in a yellow bikini (well played, sir!). I would certainly not expect Plod to put my name on a list of "people to keep an eye on" for it.

            If that's the state of play in the UK, what the hell is going on in the Land of the Free?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 11:25am

      Because SWATing was just too slow...

      Indeed, how dare they try to make known their grievances in an entirely non-criminal and legal fashion! Clearly they had it coming, what with a pack of trolls deciding to take their entirely legal and non-criminal petition and using it to imply that they were a part of a group it's entirely possible some of them had never even heard of.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      steell (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 11:46am

      Re: supporting documents

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      Ever heard or read the above? It's called the First Amendment, and you are awful quick to surrender it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re: supporting documents

        How is a probably Exhibit in an ongoing investigation a violation of any of that?

        It's NOT the "petition" that LSP isn't releasing - "LSP has refused to disclose the “full list of antifa.docx” records."

        It's a *package* of documents.

        Also, read more carefully for content. It's "purported", "Conspiracy theory", "hoax", etc.

        The POINT is that nobody but the LSP (and the lawyers handling the FOIL request) actually KNOWS what the antifa.docx records contains.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 2:03pm

          The POINT is that nobody but the LSP (and the lawyers handling the FOIL request) actually KNOWS what the antifa.docx records contains.

          Therein lies the issue: Even if the list is not a hoax, the police are investigating people who may have done nothing wrong on the sole basis of their names being associated with a purported list of AntiFa members. If those people have done nothing wrong, their names could still be dragged through the mud by an overzealous police department. The public deserves to know whether the police are working from a hoaxed list of names—and, if they are not, whether they have other proof of criminal behavior aside from an association with AntiFa.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 11:55am

      if there's even ONE name on it that crosslinks to a true ANTIFA member, it's a supporting document and the LSP is correct in refusing to release it

      Even if this were true—that a single name on that petition connects to a known member of AntiFa—so what? Unless that person has broken the law in some way, they should not be prosecuted or persecuted because of their affiliation with AntiFa. That would be no better than going after someone who signed a pro-Trump petition because they happened to also be part of, say, a White nationalist group. Association with a group of people who hold views you dislike but have otherwise broken no laws is not illegal, nor should it be. Your position would make such associations illegal. Your position would be out-and-out fascism.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:55pm

        Re:

        Simple. Replace "antifa" with "KKK" and see if you still have that objection.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re:

          I did and I don’t.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Re:

          If members of a local Klan chapter have broken no laws, I see no reason why those racist idiots should not be allowed to associate with each other and spout their racist bile to anyone who will listen. Someone’s association with a group that has heinous or hateful views should not, on its own, serve as proof of criminal activity.

          If I assumed you were a criminal because you signed that petition and I found out you or a direct relative of yours was on that AntiFa list, I should be called out (and righfully so) for making such a foolish assumption. That sentiment remains the same if you replace “AntiFa” with “Democrats”, “socialists”, or “Juggalos”. And yes, I know the history of the Klan and its reign of violence across the South. But unless the police can prove that a Klan member has committed a crime and tie that crime back to other Klan members, being in the Klan should not in and of itself be considered proof of criminality. It could be a reason to suspect someone of criminal behavior, but nothing more.

          Do not think of my position here as a positive view of the Klan. I despise their ideology and, if I could do so, I would sooner banish them from the world altogether than give them the time of day. But even racists have the right to associate with one another and not be considered criminals just because of their views. The First Amendment demands we protect that right, regardless of whether we like those views.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:17am

          Re: Re:

          "Simple. Replace "antifa" with "KKK" and see if you still have that objection."

          Let me jump in and try:

          "if there's even ONE name on it that crosslinks to a true KKK member, it's a supporting document and the LSP is correct in refusing to release it"

          Hmmm.... That still doesn't seem to excuse the negative impact on the innocent people on that list. Maybe people are more concerned about those people than the identity of the chosen witch you're hunting?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:07am

      Re: supporting documents

      "The lesson here is simple: Don't sign online petitions."

      Better yet, don't be politically active in any way, just in case you end up being spotted by authorities doing something that they dislike!

      Wow. That works out so well for everyone that I don't even have to Godwin the thread to come up with numerous examples if you need them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 10:53am

    The LSP is investigating a hoax? What gives them the power to investigate the last Presidential Election?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 11:30am

    Corrupt or gullible, choices choices...

    Yeah, there is really no way they come out of this looking good. Either they're making use of a bogus list in order to use it to investigate people they otherwise wouldn't have grounds to, or they got duped and rather than just own it are doubling down in order to protect their image, ironically just making it worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lebron Paul 2020, 4 Sep 2018 @ 11:38am

    Uum, question...

    "The hoax was promoted on Neo-Nazi websites like Stormfront"

    Soooo... how'd these cops come across this document? Asking for a friend

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:02pm

    Is no one else disturbed by the transport medium?

    Antifa.docx? Shouldn't this be in a portable format, such as pdf, txt, or html? Law enforcement records need to be durable, and putting allegedly critical content (critical enough not to be released, anyway) in a docx needlessly complicates the lives of future investigators, who will be forced to dig out a by then very outdated Microsoft Office just to read it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:42pm

      Re: Is no one else disturbed by the transport medium?

      The way that Microsoft make old documents unreadable in new products suits those in power just fine. It means if the records have to be released after n years, the contents will remain secret because the document will unreadable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re: Is no one else disturbed by the transport medium?

        Two things. The important thing about digital document format for law enforcement is the ability to prove that it is the original unedited document. As for the reading of old documents, try LibreOffice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Is no one else disturbed by the transport medium?

      Well, I wasn't, because I was assuming that the file was the original list initially generated by denizens of 8chan, and that it was those denizens who had put it into .docx format - that the police who were passing it around had simply not bothered shifting it into another format, at least not by the point where that mail happened.

      But looking at it again, if we have enough access to that original "dossier" to know that this list is in it and where the contents of the list come from (signatures on a petition), we presumably know what format the original "dossier"'s version of the list was in - and if it were a .docx, that would probably have been mentioned.

      So now I'm not entirely not disturbed by that, anymore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:14pm

    All the officers have to do is say, "Qualified Immunity, PLZ."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:37pm

    "it appears this law enforcement agency has been using a bogus list of supposed Antifa members compiled by 8chan users to keep tabs on Americans opposed to Trump."

    Why would a law enforcement agency think this is in any way part of their job description?

    I could be wrong, but I thought it was ok to disagree with any politician - I certainly did not think it was against the law. So if it is not illegal, then what do these leos think they are doing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 12:57pm

    Here in this administration here, we don't need facts to prove you guilty! And your facts don't prove I am guilty! See how that works?

    And no, I am not a member.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jay Dee, 4 Sep 2018 @ 3:31pm

    What's sauce for the Trump

    is sauce for the rest of us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Florida Man, 4 Sep 2018 @ 5:35pm

    I don't suppose...

    there's any chance that their document isn't the hoax document.

    Then again, it's Louisiana.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 6:28pm

      Possible, but...

      The LSP “Antifa” emails were sent just days after the conspiracy theory website “8Chan” published a fake dossier of what purported to be a full list of “Antifa.”

      Possibly, however the timing would require an enormous coincidence if that is the case. Days after 8chan puts together an 'Anitfa dossier' and all of a sudden they're talking about a list of members of the group in email?

      It's possible, but I'd say the timing is suspicious at the least, and more likely indicative of exactly which 'list' they are using.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:22am

      Re: I don't suppose...

      There's certainly a chance, but generally speaking it's not the documents that prove the someone's *innocence* that get delayed when their release is requested.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Sep 2018 @ 8:36pm

    "LSP has refused to disclose the “full list of antifa.docx” records. The Agency claims that releasing the document could “compromise” an ongoing criminal investigation in which LSP anticipates arrests, and reveal the identity of its “Confidential Informant.”"

    So someone at LSP regularly reads Stormfront is what I am gathering from this.

    Why are we spending more money on chasing boogeymen?
    This document isn't from the feds, fusion center, or other credible source... and the LSP has made it clear they are using if for ongoing investigations.
    Perhaps we should ask to see the warrant requests.
    Perhaps we should ask how a random document from the internet is being treated as the holy grail of who needs the LSP to remind them Trump is the God King Emperor who no one shoudl defy.
    Perhaps LSP needs to be reminded about the rule of law & that Judge will have a really fucking hard time come up with a good faith explanation that turns an 8chan created document into actual evidence of anything but LSP being run by a bunch of white supremacists & conspiracy freaks... who are given weapons and a license to murder by the courts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:14am

    Get used to it. This is how things are done in a Fascist dictatorship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Cushing is an Ass.. But not always., 5 Sep 2018 @ 3:33am

    I knew you could do it.. Write something without injecting your personalized vulgar bias. Nice job. Interesting read.

    To all the Cushing anal zealots.. Go suck a duck!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.