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In Reply to: Cops Spy on Journalists posted by Esperanza from 66-42-118-155.lsan.dial.netzero.com (220.127.116.11) on Sunday, February 09, 2003 at 2:45PM :
Cops accused of spying on journalists
Lawyer says police may also have aided private companies
By Kevin Vaughan, Rocky Mountain News
February 4, 2003
Denver police intelligence bureau officers may have conducted background checks for private companies and spied on journalists, a lawyer charged Monday.
The allegations were raised in federal court by an attorney for the American Friends Service Committee, one of several groups and individuals who are part of a lawsuit against Denver that contends the city's police department violated their free speech rights when its officers gathered intelligence at peaceful demonstrations.
The attorney, Lino Lipinsky, said it was important to know whether information from background checks ended up in the "spy files" that are at the root of the lawsuit.
"We don't know yet, but we need to have discovery on these issues," Lipinsky said in a hearing before federal magistrate Craig Shaffer.
The "spy files" came to light nearly a year ago when the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of six groups and individuals who had been the subject of intelligence bureau investigations. The Denver Police Department later disclosed that its intelligence officers had gathered information on more than 3,000 groups and individuals as part of a practice that dated back to the 1950s.
Many of those who were targets of intelligence gathering were involved in peaceful demonstrations. However, depositions showed that some of them were labeled "criminal extremists" by police officials.
A court order bars attorneys on both sides from disclosing the identity of any of those in the files.
Monday's hearing was focused largely on discovery issues.
Lipinsky made the allegations about the background checks and spying on journalists when he asked for Shaffer's blessing to extend his previous discovery requests.
Shaffer told the attorneys to file briefs and indicated he would rule later on the request.
Thomas Rice, an attorney representing the city, accused Lipinsky of reciting information contained in the sealed files so that reporters at the hearing could write about them.
Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman said he could not comment on the allegations because they are subject to the ongoing litigation.
: Spin of the Week
: PR Watch, February 7, 2003
: Cops Spy on Journalists
: Denver police intelligence bureau officers may have conducted background checks for private companies and spied on journalists, according to a federal lawsuit. Police also kept files on groups and individuals they labeled "criminal extremists" including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), an 85-year old pacifist Quaker group that won the Nobel Peace Prize for its advocacy of non-violent social change, and the Chiapas Coalition, which supports the struggle of indigenous persons in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Individuals whose names appeared in police files include Sister Antonio Anthony, a 73-year old Franciscan nun. Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 4, 2003
: Spin of the Week comes courtesy of our friends at PR Watch, a Wisconsin-based non-profit organization that reports on the public relations industry and the role of the media
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