Minnesota Blocks Release of Records About Surveilling Pipeline Opponents

"The state’s fusion center, which coordinates police intelligence-sharing, enacted the policy after critical stories in the news media."

"Following critical stories about the policing of anti-pipeline activists, a Minnesota law enforcement agency barred a federally affiliated body from releasing documents through the state’s public records laws, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

The Minnesota Fusion Center, a police intelligence-sharing partnership affiliated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is sidestepping the state’s freedom of information law by citing security concerns, though it had in the past released records related to its policing of pipeline opponents. The fusion center is refusing to release any public records pertaining to activities, including surveillance, against opponents of the energy firm Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline until after it is constructed, according to one of the documents.

The unusual policy came after The Intercept and other media outlets published stories documenting law enforcement surveillance and coordination with private security during protests against Line 3, part of a trend in which aggressive policing against pipeline opponents across the U.S. was reported by media. Many of the news stories concerning Minnesota police activities were based on records provided under the Minnesota Data Practices Act and reporting on anti-pipeline struggles in other states has relied on similar public transparency laws."

Will Parrish reports for The Intercept August 7 2021.

Source: The Intercept, 08/10/2021