Retired Maine State Trooper Awarded $300,000 in Whistleblower Lawsuit Over Law Enforcement Targeting Gun Owners

A now-retired Maine state trooper has been awarded $300,000 in a lawsuit after facing retaliation for blowing the whistle on a state police division that was gathering intelligence on several groups of people, including gun owners.

George Loder, 53, had filed a lawsuit over retaliation he faced when he went to his superiors with concerns about the intelligence operation.

Aside from gun owners, the division was working with the Maine Information and Analysis Center in Augusta to collect intelligence on power line protesters and employees at a camp for Israeli and Arab teens.

None of the people targeted for surveillance were engaged in illegal activity, according to the whistleblower.

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ABC News reports that in the lawsuit, Loder alleged that he was “reassigned to a desk job two hours from his home and then improperly denied a transfer. He has since retired.”

“In his suit, Loder raised concerns about data gathering by the Maine Intelligence Analysis Center, which shares information it collects with other law enforcement agencies,” the report continued. “The lawsuit prompted questions about the center’s work and a legislative effort to eliminate it.”

According to a report from the Press Herald, “the Maine Intelligence Analysis Center was created through a 2006 executive order authorizing the sharing of intelligence between federal, state and local governments. It was one of dozens of similar intelligence and surveillance centers that were established across the country following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, the center’s focus has pivoted away from terrorism toward more mundane domestic crimes, its leaders have said.”

On Friday, the jury sided with Loder after deliberating for more than five hours. They determined that the agency had violated the state’s whistleblower protection act.

The State Police have continued to deny any wrongoing.

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