Deray McKesson's life changed a year ago following the death of Michael Brown, as his work as an activist on the ground and on social media has made him a voice of a new generation of change makers fighting for the rights of Black lives. But standing up for any cause comes with another level of scrutiny.
The Department of Homeland Security has been keeping tabs on McKesson's Twitter account, according to documents obtained by VICE News. As far back as May of this year, emails show McKesson's tweets about a protest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray were being tracked by DHS employees.
McKesson was recently arrested in St. Louis while participating in demonstrations marking the anniversary of the shooting death of Brown. Kade Crockford, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology for Liberty project, told VICE that correspondence uncovered could possibly suggest that McKesson was being targeted by law enforcement at the St. Louis protests.
"How long has DHS been watching McKesson? For what purpose, exactly?," Crockford said. "Nothing about this behavior 'secures' the 'homeland' — to the contrary, attacks like these on McKesson and the Black Lives Matter movement's civil rights and civil liberties undermine the ideals at the very foundation of a free society."
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(Photo: Sid Hastings/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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