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The Progressive - November 11, 2021

New details have emerged regarding a list of people law enforcement believed to be involved in Black Lives Matter protests last year. Documents recently obtained by the Wisconsin Examiner show that, despite earlier statements, the list was indeed shared with members of the Kenosha Police Department (KPD). The revelations raise questions about the extensive surveillance which targeted 2020’s anti-police-brutality movement.

Although its creation date remains unclear, the list was used as early as mid-July last year. Protests in Milwaukee began around May 29, following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25. Wauwatosa’s protests didn’t begin until early June. Originally created by Dominick Ratkowski, a crime analyst for the Wauwatosa Police Department (WPD), the list was shared with numerous local and federal agencies throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Officially, WPD acknowledges that it was shared with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

However, internal emails gleaned through ongoing lawsuits show Ratkowski’s sharing of the list was prolific. A day prior to Wauwatosa’s curfew last October, Ratkowski referred to the document as a “target list” in an email. The FBI was also actively gathering information from agencies and residents in Wisconsin all summer.

Since the list was released earlier this year, WPD has shied from calling it a protester list. WPD spokespeople stated the list includes potential witnesses, victims, or suspects “that were involved with protesting or the activities surrounding the protests last summer.”

However, it also includes attorneys Kimberley Motley and Deja Vishny. The pair have represented the families of people killed by former Wauwatosa officer Joseph Mensah in officer-involved shootings, as well as many protesters. The list also includes Wisconsin Examiner journalist, vast swaths of the Milwaukee area’s activist community across numerous organizations and elected officials. The earliest known emails discussing the list pre-date Mensah being suspended with pay following public pressure on the suburb. This was one of the first results of Wauwatosa’s protests, which were motivated by a trio of shootings involving Mensah from 2015 to 2020. Mensah resigned from WPD in late 2020, and now works as a detective at Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department. ...
Read full report at The Progressive