‘Intimidation’: FBI visits Stillwater woman’s home over social media posts, attorney says

KOKH - April 3, 2024 6:10 am

An attorney is raising concerns after agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation allegedly visited his client’s Stillwater home on Mar. 19 over her social media posts.

Hassan Shibly, who represents Rolla Abdeljawad, is asking if the agents failed to follow protocol when it came to fully identifying themselves during the visit—and worries not having that information could bog down any investigations into what happened.

Abdeljawad recorded the interaction on her phone. The video has since grabbed the attention of many online.

The video shows an agent saying he wouldn’t show her his credentials while she was recording.

“Are you going to show me your credentials, or no?” Abdeljawad asked.

“Yeah, we did already… we identified ourselves,” responded an agent.

“I didn’t look at your credentials, again, I didn’t verify them. I… told you to wait and I [went] Inside.” the woman replied.

The agent then said, “Okay that’s correct. Well, what we’d like to do is just have a conversation with you about some social media posts that you’ve made.”

Image for story: 'Intimidation': FBI visits Stillwater woman's home over social media posts, attorney says

Fox News reported that which posts got the FBI’s attention remains unclear, but the woman’s attorney said that, in context, Abdeljawad expressed deep concern for the Palestinian people amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The outlet reported that she posted, “Israhelli terrorist filth… #FreePalestine May Allah destroy every single despicable zionist [sic], their supporters and backers. Ameen”

The video shows that an agent told Abdeljawad, “We do this every day, all day long, talk to people… it’s just an effort to keep everybody safe.”

An agent said Facebook provided screenshots of her account to the FBI, but Shibly expressed his doubts over the agency’s statements.

“Look, there are people who are critical of some of her posts but even they said ‘Listen, I may vehemently disagree with her position, but I will fight for her right to say it without government harassment and intimidation,'” the lawyer noted.

Shibly advised members of the public never to talk to the FBI without a lawyer present—and that agents can lie, but that civilians can’t legally lie to them.

He shared that he’s exploring options to hold the agency accountable.

In his view, “It’s scary when we see the U.S. Constitution being threatened when law enforcement officers start to target people because of their political speech, because of their freedom of speech.”

Shibly asserted that free speech protections are for everyone—even those who say things others may disagree with.

The FBI shared the following statement with FOX 25 regarding the situation:

Every day, the FBI engages with members of the public in furtherance of our mission, which is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. We can never open an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. The FBI is committed to ensuring our activities are conducted with a valid law enforcement or national security purpose, while upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans.

FOX 25 was unable to immediately obtain an additional statement from the FBI concerning Shibly’s questions over agent identification protocol.

 

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