Rallings says names added to 'blacklist' by mistake

Rallings says names added to 'blacklist' by mistake
Updated: Feb. 20, 2017 at 8:26 PM CST
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The list of people who require an escort when inside City Hall (Source: WMC Action News 5)
The list of people who require an escort when inside City Hall (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Dozens of people have been put on the "City Hall blacklist," a list that requires everyone on it to have an escort through City Hall.

Many on the list said they had no clue they were even on it.

"I'm completely frustrated. I feel like I was deceived," Devante Hill said.

Activist Devante Hill said he thought he enjoyed an open relationship with Mayor Jim Strickland, especially after his very public involvement in the Black Lives Matter protest on the I-40 bridge. Now, Hill said, that has changed.

"It absolutely frustrates me, the incompetence of this administration," he said.

Hill's name is with 80 others on the list that require an escort. Also on the list is former U of M basketball player and youth mentor—Detric Golden.

"My name shouldn't be on there," Golden said. "Everybody who knows Detric Golden knows I'm a model citizen. I do great things for this city."

Golden helps troubled youth get their lives back on track. He found out he was on the so-called blacklist Friday when friends and supporters started calling.

Golden said MPD officers he knows personally told him before the department was watching him.

"Why would you spy on me? What have I done?" Golden said.

Strickland said he didn't know of the list until 10 days ago, even though his signature is on it with the date of January 4, 2017.

"I'm not in charge of security at City Hall," Strickland said. "Now that I know about it, I've asked the police director to review it."

He said MPD came up with a list of names after a protest at his home. The mayor signed that list, and it got added to a pre-existing list of people who require escorts when in City Hall.

"The police director said to maintain safety at my home, those names had to be on there," Strickland said.

Strickland said of those 80 or so names, 43 of them were placed on an authorization of agency for his home following a "die-in" protest outside the mayor's house.

He also said he did not know the authorization of agency was attached to the escort list.

"Before that I had pushed back against MPD on some security matters for my family," Strickland said. "At that point I talked to the director and said, 'maybe you are right; maybe we need more security for the house.'"

However, WMC Action News 5 investigators spoke with three different people on that authorization of agency who said they were not at the protest at the mayor's home.

Monday night, MPD released a video on their Facebook page of Rallings speaking. In the video, he said that some people on the authorization of agency may have been put on there mistakenly. Watch the full video below:

Local activists fear MPD has been using political surveillance to add names to the list. This would violate a 1978 consent decree on political surveillance in the MPD handbook.

Attorney Bruce Kramer, whose lawsuit triggered the decree, said he is considering filing a lawsuit against the city for violating the decree and that he is "disappointed greatly."

The full list is below:

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