LA police ask people they stop for their Facebook and Twitter account info

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers walking through Union Station.

Enlarge / Los Angeles Police Department officers patrol Union Station on Wednesday, August 11, 2021. (credit: Getty Images | Irfan Khan)

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) instructs officers to collect social media account information and email addresses when they interview people they have detained, according to documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

The Brennan Center filed public records requests with LAPD and police departments from other major cities, finding among other things that “the LAPD instructs its officers to broadly collect social media account information from those they encounter in person using field interview (FI) card.” The LAPD initially resisted making documents available but supplied over 6,000 pages after the Brennan Center sued the department.

One such document, a memo from then-LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in May 2015, said that “When completing a FI report, officers should ask for a person’s social media and e-mail account information and include it in the ‘Additional Info’ box.” That includes Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook profiles, the memo said.

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