FBI: Perceptions of Police Brutality Against Blacks ‘Very Likely’ Incited Recent Violence Against Police

By Nancy Flory Published on October 11, 2017

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claims in a new report that perceptions of police brutality against blacks have “very likely” caused the increase in violence against police in the last few years.

An  intelligence assessment made by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorist Analysis Unit dated August 3, 2017 states:

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 numbers do not include BIEs who attacked police officers during traffic stops or when the police were responding to calls. Specifically, it doesn’t include those violent actions that were “reactionary in nature.”

The FBI outlined six targeted attacks since 2014 and assessed that it was “very likely” — in FBI terms, an 80-95 percent chance — that the “BIE suspects acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality incidents.” These six targeted attacks included:

  • The July 7, 2016 ambush and shooting of 11 Dallas police officers
  • The October 23, 2014 hatchet attack on four white officers in Queens, NY
  • The October 4 and 13, 2016 shootings at police stations in Indianapolis, IN
  • The July, 17, 2016 shooting of six police officers in Baton Rouge, LA
  • The September 13, 2016 intentional car crash into three white officers in Phoenix, AZ, and
  • The November 21, 2014 arrest and conviction of a man who had purchased explosives to kill white police officers after the verdict for the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, MO

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The report has some crying foul. 

Comedian and Black Lives Matter activist Elsa Waithe worries that the FBI report will scare people away from joining protests and “criminalize anyone who is already in the movement,” reported The Guardian. She wears a “black power” button and fears the FBI could label her as a threat as well. “The term ‘black identity extremist’ is so vague on purpose … If I wanted to do a picnic for black folks, is this now some sort of terrorist activity?”

Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson said the FBI’s monitoring of BIEs is similar to a program called “Cointelpro,” used to “target political groups and activists,” such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and the NAACP. “We knew that we were likely being watched,” he said. “This is confirmation that the work of social justice continues to threaten those in power.”

Others say the FBI monitoring is only violence profiling. 

“Nobody is saying anything negative about protests,” said former Las Vegas police officer Randy Sutton, now spokesman for Blue Lives Matter. “Protesting is everyone’s right. This is about committing acts of violence. Many Black Lives Matter protests call for violence against police, with chants like, ‘What do we want?’ and ‘Dead cops!’ It’s terrorism, and it’s no different than Islamic terrorism.”

Sutton added that the attacks on police have changed how officers work. “Police are not being as aggressive because of the political climate. There’s been a dramatic decrease in proactive policing.”

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