After shooting Philando Castile dead during a traffic stop — a killing that was livestreamed on Facebook by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds — the police obtained a secret warrant for Reynolds’s Facebook account, including her private messages and deleted messages, accompanied by a gag order that banned Facebook from every discussing the warrant’s existence.
Facebook successfully challenged the warrant and the gag clause.
The warrant was issued on the basis of a perjured affidavit from requesting officer that accused Reynold of being suspected of criminal activity.
To “win” at killing citizens, you must start the spin immediately. Yanez spun his own, speaking to a lawyer less than two hours after killing Castile. Local law enforcement did the same thing. Documents obtained by Tony Webster show Special Agent Bill O’Donnell issued a warrant to Facebook for “all information retained” by the company on Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend. This was to include all email sent or received by that account, as well as “chat logs,” which presumably means the content of private messages. The warrant also demands any communications that may have been deleted by Reynolds, as well as metadata on photos or videos uploaded to Facebook. It came accompanied with an indefinite gag order.
Why would law enforcement want (much less need) information from the victim’s girlfriend’s Facebook account? It appears officers were looking to justify the killing after the fact. The following sworn statement was contained in the affidavit:
Your affiant is aware through training and expertise that individuals frequently call and/or text messages to each other regarding criminal activity during and/or after and [sic] event has occurred.
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