Sam Levin comments on the social media activity of law enforcement with regard to left-wing counter-protesters active at far-right rallies, suggesting that they are being unfairly targeted. He finds that the police often enable doxing and harassment of left-wing protesters by posting their mugshots on Twitter, for example.
The activist’s arrest for “failure to disperse” on 15 September 2017 wasn’t the only punishment she faced for marching. When she was released a day later, she learned that the police department had posted her name, age and address on Twitter, alongside 32 others arrested during the chaotic demonstrations sparked by the acquittal of an officer.
Most of the arrests did not result in charges, but the damage was done. It’s a law enforcement tactic that activists say has become increasingly common: police arrest protesters en masse, publicly shame them on social media, and then drop the cases.
The strategy can lead to intense online abuse for Black Lives Matter activists and other protesters. In the case of anti-fascist protesters, some critics argue that police are also boosting the agenda of neo-Nazis and white supremacists by exposing counter-protesters’ identities – and branding them violent offenders before they’ve gone to court.