The FBI surveilled Chicago activists’ activities related to the effort to stop Atlanta’s Cop City, labeling activists as “Anarchist Violent Extremists” and “Environmental Violent Extremists.” The documents, obtained by FOIA request, released by Grist and Type investigations, and first reported by Unicorn Riot, show the FBI was attempting to connect Chicago groups working to protect green space in that city from development projects like the Obama Presidential Library, with the Stop Cop City activists in Atlanta, where autopsy results show police killed Manuel “Tortuguita” Esteban Paez Terán while they were seated with their hands in the air.
One of the Chicago groups targeted is Save Jackson Park, founded by Jeanette Hoyt, a 65-year-old teacher. “The only connection between this group and Cop City is them liking me on Twitter,” Hoyt said.
While the FBI tracking the activities of environmental activists is not new, the length to which the FBI is stretching possible connections and language used is concerning to experts like Mike German, a former FBI special agent and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program. “This exact kind of loose language may lead to the mistaken assumption that that categorization has some legal effect,” German said. “Making this casual reference to an unrelated group a thousand miles away is how the FBI gets itself in trouble… I think the animus against the ideology is what’s most problematic.” (Grist and Type Investigations)