FBI Says ‘Black Identity Extremists’ Are a Violent Threat Because of Their Views on Police Brutality

Police face off with demonstrators as protests continue in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death on October 22, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

The FBI has declared internally that “black identity extremists” are a violent threat because of their views about police brutality toward African-Americans, according to a leaked document.

The August report, obtained by Foreign Policy Magazine, is from the agency’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit appears to point to the FBI monitoring black rights activists, from movements such as Black Lives Matter, because of the perceived threat they pose to law enforcement personnel. It appears to be the first publicized mention of the term “black identity extremists” as an apparent movement from an official U.S. body.

“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,” it reads.

“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 continues.

The agency defended its decision to classify black rights activists as extremists and a threat in a statement to the magazine. “FBI cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights,” it said.

The protest movement has grown in light of a series of high-profile police shootings, in particular, Michael Brown’s killing in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

The report cites one particular example of “black identity extremist” violence, the shooting of 11 police officers in Dallas, Texas, in July 2016 by Micah Johnson.

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