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A St. Paul police sergeant was recently placed on administrative leave after he posted about running over Black Lives Matter protestor and now several activists are part of a local group on the lookout for other potential online abusers.
Black Lives Matter insists they have a line of where commentary crosses into hate and racism and when they see public social media posts cross that line, they will make sure the user's employer knows about it.
Andrea Morisette Grazzini heads up the Racist Trolls Reparation Team, or RTRT. She describes her members as on the lookout for hateful commentary and language that might be construed to incite violence posted by users on public forums often towards the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Are you the social media police? No. No. No we're not [the social media police]," Morisette Grazzini says. "I would say we are the journalists. We are providing information. That is all we are doing."
If they deem someone racist or abusive, RTRT will take screengrabs of their posts. The next step is to find out where the user works - information that is often available right there on the so-called violators' online social media biography.
Morisette Grazzini then rattles off a letter to the employer with the posts attached and a gentle suggestion that someone else may be a better fit for the job.
She's sent out more than 60 of those letters in the last few months, with the group posting their alleged offenders on this publicly available database-style document.
"Freedom of speech ceases to become [that] when it's hate speech," Morisette Grazzini says. "There are laws against hate speech."
One man on RTRT's radar, whom Fox 9 agreed not to name publically, says him employer recently received a letter from the group with a screengrab of one of his Facebook posts.
"It's a wait and see at this point where I have my job in a couple of weeks or not," He told Fox 9.
The man insists he isn't racist, but acknowledges he wrote a short public Facebook post when Back Lives Matter announced their upcoming efforts to peacefully shut down the popular Crashed Ice event in St. Paul.
"I did make a comment on Facebook," He says. "14 key strokes that changed my life. I regret it today. Had they asked to remove it or told me they were unhappy, there are a lot of ways this could be resolved without immediately going after somebody's job."
Fox 9 talked to attorney Clayton Halunen on Friday about whether or not the targeting of employers is a sound legal tactic to combat racism.
"Does that mean then that the employer has to monitor social media of employees about their feelings towards Muslims, gays or Jewish employees? Where does it stop?" Halunen said.
Morisette Grazzini estimates that RTRT's trolling over the last couple months has resulted in between five and 10 firings, a number Fox 9 cannot independently confirm.
She explained that they ramped up their efforts soon after several Black Lives Matter demonstrators were shot outside the 4th Precinct occupation last November.
READ THIS NEXT - St. Paul police sergeant apologizes: 'I am extremely sorry for posting what I did'
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