Maine Trooper Punished for Reporting Illegal Police Surveillance on Gun Owners and Activists

Maine State Police Trooper George Loder says he suffered professional retaliation and demotion after he reported illegal police surveillance activity at the Maine Information and Analysis Center (MIAC) commonly known as the fusion center. Loder said Maine State Police kept an unlawful database of gun owners and carried out illegal surveillance on peace activists.

To facilitate these illegal operations, the MIAC circumvented federal privacy laws, overstepped its authority, and used flimsy excuses to spy on gun owners. Maine State Police also collected information from vehicle number plates without suspicion of criminal activity and maintained that information beyond the legal limit.

The police also stored personal information while conducting background checks on people trying to purchase firearms, thus creating an illegal gun registry in violation of federal law. Federal law dictates that information collected during the background checks should be destroyed after the sale of the firearm is completed.

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Although Loder filed a lawsuit related to employment issues, the issues highlighted by his case warrant investigations by an independent body, according to the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, Zachary Heiden. Heiden said ACLU has warned of the illegal activities taking place in the information center since it began its operations.

Activists including Say No to the New England Clean Energy Corridor group allayed fears of illegal surveillance by the Maine State Police, according to the Director of the group, Sandra Howard.

In its defense, the Maine State Police claims Loder requested for transfer to the lower position of a trooper. The department claims Loder also made the accusation on learning about his impending transfer.

However, Loder reported his concerns to his supervisors in November 2017 when all the state police personnel were given access to Maine DEA files which included the names of whistleblowers, an action that Loder protested.

The information from other sources corroborates Loder’s account, and it’s too close to be just a matter of coincidence. The case will likely open a pandora’s box of Maine’s state police illegal surveillance activities, especially against gun owners.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.

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