FBI Report on Black Extremists Raises Fears of Returning to Practices Used During Civil Rights Movement

Concerns that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will return to practices used during the civil rights movement, when it spied on activist groups without evidence that they had done something illegal, have arisen after the release of a report on the rise of black extremists. According to the bureau, this is one of the many products their analysts produce about the emerging trends and a similar report on white supremacists has been released in the same period.

After the police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014, black identity extremists are targeting law enforcement more and more, the reports says and it warns that in the future there will probably be cases where extremists would revenge for perceived past police brutality incidents. The report caused anger and Congressional Black Caucus wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. The Caucus said that the report conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations and it warned that the report would be a cause for worsening of the relationship between police and minority communities.

This is not the first report about black extremists. FBI released a similar one about the retaliatory violence of black extremists in March last year, but then the U.S. had black president and attorney general, so the report did not cause so many reactions, the Associated Press reports.

In the meantime, Representative Karen Bass, after a congressional hearing last week said that she was worried because she received complaints from members of Black Lives Matter who told her that they were being monitored and harassed by the police. Even though the FBI has not mentioned the group in the report, Bass thinks that the 12-page bulletin issued in August might be a sign for the police that there is nothing wrong with cracking down on groups critical of law enforcement.

Veterans of the black and Latino civil rights movement said that the assessment reminded them of the FBI’s covert operation in the 1950s and 1960s when the agents had to expose, disrupt, misdirect or otherwise neutralize the activists of black nationalists.


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