Across the country the FBI, other federal agencies and local police departments are targeting activists amid the current Black Lives Matter uprising…
On the evening of Thursday, June 11 at about 5pm, two FBI agents attempted to question a member of the FANG Collective at their home. The person who was targeted by the FBI is choosing to remain anonymous.
The FBI agents entered from a back stairway through an unlocked door and then proceeded to knock on the door of the target. The person opened the door slightly, and the two agents identified themselves as members of the FBI (and one of them with the Providence Police Department), used the person’s name, and asked the person to speak to them for a few minutes. The person refused, exercising their right to not speak to federal agents. The agents persisted even after the person closed the door, knocking and speaking through the door for at least five minutes after the person clearly exercised their right of refusal. The agents tried to coerce the person out of their apartment by saying there was no reason to worry, that they did nothing wrong. After their persistence was met with silence, they left saying that they “would be back.”
This incident comes after another member of the FANG Collective was visited at their home by FBI agents who attempted to question them in January.
We believe that this recent person was targeted for their involvement in the FANG Bail Fund — an abolitionist community fund that is bailing out local residents from Massachusetts and Rhode Island jails. With recent uprisings across the country as part of the Movement for Black Lives, the work and power of the bail fund has exponentially increased. The FANG Collective stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and will continue to support protestors that are being violently attacked and arrested in the streets by militarized police.
This is a critical reminder to the community that one should never speak to, or cooperate with the FBI. They are trained to coerce people into giving them information. Yet, speaking to the FBI also brings the risk of being charged with lying to a federal agent if anything that is said can be interpreted as misinformation. There is no benefit to speaking with the FBI. If anything, you can tell FBI agents that you wish to speak to a lawyer and ask for the agent’s business card. Otherwise, people should exercise their right to remain silent and speak to a lawyer.
In Rhode Island, the National Lawyers Guild can be reached via their hotline: 401-753-3273. The National Lawyers Guild also has produced this important “Know Your Rights” guide.
Across the country the FBI, other federal agencies and local police departments are targeting activists amid the current Black Lives Matter uprising. These investigations in part have been in response to the Trump Administration’s directive for the Department of Justice to investigate “antifa” (or anti-fascist) organizations. In recent weeks the administration has even designated ‘antifa’ as a “terrorist” group. This follows in a long pattern of the FBI and federal authorities working to stop movements for racial and social justice.
The FANG Collective is a community organizing and direct action group based in Rhode Island. FANG has led several climate justice campaigns, and their current Shut Down ICE campaign is challenging contracts between ICE and law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts.