The FBI Is Framing Black Folks Upset by Police Brutality as Terrorist Threats

The FBI Is Framing Black Folks Upset by Police Brutality as Terrorist Threats

They deemed "Black Identity Extremists" as the next big threat just days before Charlottesville.

by Zahara Hill, October 6, 2017

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The FBI Is Framing Black Folks Upset by Police Brutality as Terrorist Threats

Gina Gowdy holds an upside-down American flag in Ferguson, Mo., during a protest months after the death of Mike Brown at police hands. AP / Charlie Riedel

If you let the FBI tell it, Black folks–not White supremacists, White terrorists or the president–are posing a grave danger to the country.

Foreign Policy reports the FBI has declared “Black Identity Extremists”–Black Americans on the quest to avenge police brutality–to be a major threat to law enforcement.

The August 3 report by the FBI’s counter-terrorism division was released just days before the White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. During the rally, several Black Americans were assaulted by the demonstrators and a woman was killed.

“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,” the FBI report read, according to Foreign Policy.

“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,” it continued.

Former FBI official Michael German made an apt characterization of the FBI’s new focal point: “Basically, it’s black people who scare them.” 

According to Foreign Policy, “BIE” was not a term known to be used by counter-terrorism experts prior to the report. Daryl Johnson, who previously worked as an intelligence analyst for the Department of Homeland Security, is perplexed by the establishment of the threat. 

“I’m at a loss,” he said. “I have no idea of why they would come up with a new term.”

The document cited six instances in which police officers were attacked by a Black person allegedly aiming to avenge police killings. It claims the “BIE movement” was motivated by the death of Michael Brown, who was killed by former Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.

“[I]ncidents 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 said in reference to Brown’s death.

“In all six targeted attacks since 2014,” the report said, “the FBI assesses it is very likely the BIE suspects acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality. Even though five of these attacks occurred following controversial police shooting of African Americans by white police officers, BIE targeting of officers was not, in every incident, based on their specific race.”

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