While the media is zeroing in on the handful of white supremacist groups in America, the FBI is concerned about a larger, more violent threat.
The FBI is warning that the rise of Black Identity Extremist groups is posing a risk to police officers across the country. “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence,” reported the FBI in their Intelligence Assessment.
According to the assessment, the BIE movement was motivated by the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man. The officer accused Brown of strong-armed robbery and says Brown was attempting to wrestle the officer’s firearm before he was fatally shot.
Black Identity Extremists were motivated by the shooting. They suggested that, because Brown was unarmed, he must have had his hands up when he was shot.
This unsubstantiated claim has led to the creation of the common protest chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” The violent riots intensified after a grand jury failed to indict the white officer for the shooting of Michael Brown in November 2014.
“The FBI assesses it is very likely incidents of alleged police abuse against African Americans since then have continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement,” the report suggests. “The FBI assesses it is very likely some BIEs are influenced by a mix of anti-authoritarian, Moorish sovereign citizen ideology, and BIE ideology.”
Essentially, the FBI warned that a rise in attacks on police officers has been justified by the perception that police officers are racist, and are actively oppressing black communities.
The report identifies six cases of targeted and premeditated attacks against police that were motivated by BIE ideology. Attacks carried out by BIE activists against police officers carrying out routine duties were not included in the assessment. Instead, only deliberate and premeditated attacks against police in response to supposed police brutality were included.
The most violent attack against police by BIE was conducted by Micah Johnson, a Black Lives Matter activist who shot and killed 5 police officers in Dallas, Texas during a protest of police brutality last year. “Based on Johnson’s journal writings and statements to police, he appeared to have been influenced by BIE ideology,” the report concludes. Johnson launched his attack during a Black Lives Matter protest, but the group is not identified by name in the report.
The FBI is warning that the rise of Black Identity Extremist groups is posing a risk to police officers across the country. Are police prepared for this new threat?
The FBI report was originally written three days before the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and contained the first official mention of the rise of a Black Identity Extremist movement. The FBI warned that violent attacks are likely to increase.
“The FBI assesses it is very likely that BIEs’ perceptions of unjust treatment of African Americans and the perceived unchallenged illegitimate actions of law enforcement will inspire premeditated attacks against law enforcement over the next year,” the report concludes.
“Possible indicators for BIEs posing a violent threat to law enforcement include advocating for violence against law enforcement, violent anti-white rhetoric, attempts to acquire illegal weapons or explosives, and affiliations with others in both the BSE [Black Separatist Extremist] and sovereign citizen extremist movements.