A new report by the FBI's counterterrorism division has identified "black identity extremists" (BIEs) as a domestic terror threat. These individuals do not necessarily have ties to any particular group but simply subscribe to a belief system in which law enforcement is perceived as a threat to African Americans and believe violence is a reasonable response to perceptions of police brutality.
According to the new report, "It is very likely BIEs proactively target police and openly identify and justify their actions with social-political agendas commensurate with their perceived injustices against African Americans."
The report dates the emergence of the domestic terrorists to the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked violent protests by individuals claiming that Brown's death was the result of police brutality and not because of Brown's criminal activities. It sparked the rallying cry of "hands-up, don't shoot," predicated on the falsehood that Brown was actually surrendering to police before being fatally wounded.
Fox News notes that the protests gained momentum after "subsequent racially charged police shootings" and then worsened with the aid of social media and movements lsuch as Black Lives Matter, whose members are openly advocating for targeting police officers and white Americans.
The FBI report acknowledges that despite claims by the Left and the mainstream media, there are violent black identity extremist counterparts to violent white supremacists. But critics are claiming the FBI made a desperate leap in its designation.
“This is a new umbrella designation that has no basis,” a former homeland security official told ForeignPollicy.com. “There are civil rights and privacy issues all over this.”
“They are grouping together Black Panthers, black nationalists, and Washitaw Nation,” the official continued. “Imagine lumping together white nationals, white supremacists, militias, neo-Nazis, and calling it ‘white identity extremists.’”
But that’s exactly what the Left does.
The FBI report explains that domestic terrorists differ from traditional criminals in that they commit crimes to bring attention to a social or political cause. It is for that reason that black identity extremists have been identified as a potential threat. Other groups assigned to this category include white supremacists, militia, sovereign citizens, anarchists, abortion, animal rights, environmental rights and Puerto Rican Nationalists.
The report notes that while BIEs have been previously analyzed for consideration as a domestic terror threat, the recent acts of violence by black identity extremists have confirmed that there is a potential for violence at the hands of certain BIEs. Not only has violence already occurred, according to the report, but it is also "likely" to continue.
“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 said. “It is very likely additional controversial police shootings of African-Americans and the associated legal proceedings will continue to serve as drivers for violence against law enforcement.”
The evidence of this is prevalent as recent acts of violence against law enforcement have been committed by individuals who would qualify as Black Identity Extremists. Last year, gunman Micah Johnson opened fire on police in Dallas at the end of a Black Lives Matter demonstration, killing five officers and injuring several others. Johnson told a hostage negotiator that he was angry and acting on behalf of Black Lives Matter and “wanted to kill white people, especially police officers.” It was later revealed that Johnson was following a black nationalist group on Facebook called the “African American Defense League,” which encouraged followers to “ATTACK EVERYTHING IN BLUE EXCEPT THE MAIL MAN” and “sprinkle Pigs Blood.”
Just days after the Dallas shooting, Gavin Eugene Long shot six police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three of them, in response to the police shooting death of a black man, Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge. Long was later discovered to have ties to black hate groups.
In 2014, black nationalist Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley assassinated two New York City police officers sitting in a marked patrol car in Brooklyn, New York. Hours before the shooting, Brinsley boasted on social media hours that he intended to kill cops in revenge for the 2014 deaths of Michael Brown (in Ferguson, Missouri) and Eric Garner who died during a struggle with police in New York City.
“I’m putting wings on pigs today,” Brinsley wrote on Instagram. “They take 1 of ours … let’s take 2 of theirs,” he said.
Police are not the only targets of the violent black identity extremists. Kori Ali Muhammad targeted and killed three white males in Fresno, California, earlier this year. Muhammad had openly stated in social media posts that he hated "white people" and referred to a "race war against whites."
Of course, it is unconstitutional to punish individuals for espousing hate-filled ideologies. Too often, the media and the Left attempt to shut down free speech under the pretense that the speech advocates controversial ideologies, so it would be setting a dangerous precedent to do the same against individuals that advance notions of black identity extremism. Fear of violence should not be used to infringe on individual's First Amendment rights. Only one's actions should be punishable offenses. Even individuals who espouse hate-filled ideologies have a right to their misguided belief systems, so long as they do not translate into violent actions or infringe upon another’s constitutional rights.
But it would be absurd to pretend that black identity extremists haven't committed violence in the past to advocate a cause and that they aren't likely to continue to do so. They belong on the FBI's list of domestic terror threats just as much as their counterparts do.
Photo of the Ferguson riots: Loavesofbread