The FBI just released a report that is “stirring fears of a return to practices used during the civil rights movement.” The report focused on the rise of black “extremists.”
The report says that “black identity extremists” are targeting law enforcement after police killings of black men. This has been on the rise since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri.
“The report describes cases in which ‘extremists’ had ‘acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality incidents.’ It warned that such violence was likely to continue.”
The Congressional Black Caucus had an issue with the report and wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“…the report ‘conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations’ and would further erode the frayed relationship between police and minority communities.”
In March 2016, the FBI warned that there may be retaliatory violence by “black separatist extremists”. However, this report did not receive as much backlash since we had a black sitting president, Barack Obama, and a black attorney general, Loretta Lynch.
Since the Trump administration has taken office, black voters have been highly suspicious of the administration and have even criticized it to be insensitive on racial issues.
This past week, during a congressional hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was unable to answer questions about the report or its origins.
Sessions said he was aware of “groups that do have an extraordinary commitment to their racial identity, and some have transformed themselves even into violent activists.” He struggled to answer the same question about white extremists.
The worry about this report is that it will give the police the message that it’s acceptable to crack down on groups critical of law enforcement.
The FBI said they will not and cannot open an investigation solely based on a person’s race or exercise of free speech rights.
“’Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on individuals who commit violence and other criminal acts,’ the FBI said. ‘Furthermore, the FBI does not and will not police ideology. When an individual takes violent action based on belief or ideology and breaks the law, the FBI will enforce the rule of law.’”
The FBI’s assessments are meant to help law enforcement agencies stay on top of issues that could emerge.