In March of 2008 the Los Angeles Police Department issued Special Order 11 (SO 11), which authorizes LAPD officers to gather intelligence based on “observed behavior.” Behaviors include everyday non-criminal activities such as: using cameras in public, shooting video, using binoculars, drawing diagrams, taking notes, walking into an office and asking for hours of operation. The order makes the assumption that if you are shooting pictures or taking video in public then you are engaging in what is called “pre-operational surveillance.” The “suspicion” cast on such benign, daily behaviors opens the door for racial profiling and for such normal activities to be used as a pretext to open investigations on people who are just living their lives and abiding by the law.
Additionally, LAPD submits Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) to a national information-sharing network which links government, private collectors and users of intelligence data. SO 11 has been edited and superseded by Special Order 1 effective January 2, 2012. The “new” order, while a little more clear in its language, at its core basically contains the same content.
The campaign to rescind LAPD Special Order (SO) 1 is housed at Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) located in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles. The goal of the campaign is to raise community awareness and build a grass root campaign to ultimately rescind SO 1. The key elements of the campaign include research, community education, and coalition building around the scope and impact of SO 1, and utilize organizing and advocacy strategies to rescind SO 1.
The campaign to rescind SO 1 provides a unique opportunity to engage a broad diversity of groups in combating law and policies that threaten the human rights and civil liberties of us all. The long term goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and start conversations around police spying in our daily life and police infiltration as a tool to derail and neutralize movements for social justice based on current and historic realities.