The Center for Investigative Reporting looks back at controversial tactics used by police and other security authorities in Minnesota before and during the Republican National Convention last year. In the year leading up to the convention, police spent countless hours working to identify those who might have beene planning to disrupt the event. The idea was that they would draw on a new domestic intelligence infrastructure and take unprecedented advantage of laws expanded after 9/11 that give police more intrusive authorities to halt potential subversives and terrorists before they attack.
But far from yielding major revelations, some police work prior to and during the RNC resulted in a series of missteps, poor judgments, heavy-handed tactics and inappropriate detentions, according to interviews and a review of official documents obtained by the CIR. Their coordinated security operations, known generally as intelligence-led policing, have become common in cities across the country. A growing number of law enforcement agencies are linking their computer networks together in a national, classified data system that enables the extraordinary mining and sharing of police intelligence, while also adopting spy methods to gather information.