PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - The Oregon attorney general's apology to her civil rights director for her office's spying on his #BlackLivesMatter Twitter feed was not enough for some groups, who want a criminal investigation of it.
General Ellen Rosenblum told Oregon Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Director Erious Johnson on Oct. 27 that the Criminal Justice Division had been using "threat assessment" software to search the Twitter feeds of Oregon activists for the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Johnson's own Twitter feed had been turned up by the surveillance, Rosenblum told him.
An investigator in the Criminal Justice Division used software called DigitalStakeout to search for people who used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and the hashtags #DontShootPDX and #FuckthePolice.
DigitalStakeout says on its website that the software "offers a cloud-based threat intelligence platform that mines the web in real time and reveals what matters. Acquire the insights you need to manage cyber risk and mitigate threats."
Rosenblum would not reveal the identity of her employee who used the software, but said it appeared he was using a "demo tool" on a trial basis. She said she ordered the surveillance stopped immediately and suspended the investigator.
Nkenge Harmon Johnson, the head of Portland's Urban League and Johnson's wife, sent a letter to Rosenblum asking for an audit to reveal the origin, scope and purpose of the threat assessment program; what happened to the information it collected; and whether the Criminal Justice Division was properly trained or supervised to avoid racial bias. Harmon Johnson asked that the results of the audit be made public by Dec. 31.
Harmon Johnson said the audit should be "conducted by an entity accepted by the undersigned," which included representatives for the AFL-CIO, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, the Center for Intercultural Organizing, and Oregon's branches of the ACLU and the NAACP.
Rosenblum responded the same day in a letter to the Urban League, saying she took the issue seriously.
"I have now seen firsthand how devastating profiling can be - written on the face of a member of my team," Rosenblum wrote.
Harmon Johnson said she also wanted an apology and disclosure to all Oregonians who were ensnared in the surveillance, and asked Rosenblum to add digital surveillance recommendations as part of the profiling task force.
The Law Enforcement Profiling Task Force, which Rosenbaum heads, is charged with providing a list of recommendations to the legislature so that it can enact a law extending the ban of profiling to more groups on Jan. 1.
The task force met Tuesday to compile its final recommendations.
Rosenbaum began the meeting with an apology to Erious Johnson.
"This is, in my view, exactly what our profiling laws are meant to prevent. Black Lives Matter is a social and political movement, protected by the First Amendment. Association with Black Lives Matter does not create violence and does not deserve intrusion by the state."
She added, "I want to take this opportunity to state publicly that profiling is real. It is happening now. And the effects of it are toxic."
"Erious, I'm very sorry that this happened," she continued. "And we are going to get to the bottom of this."
"Cool," Johnson said.