Memphis activists angered by FBI report about black extremists

Memphis activists angered by FBI report about black extremists

Pastor Earle Fisher (Source: WMC Action News 5) Pastor Earle Fisher (Source: WMC Action News 5)

A new report by the FBI is sparking anger among Memphis activists.

It suggests that U.S. police are at risk of being targeted by "Black Identity Extremists."

One local civil rights activist spoke with WMC Action News 5 about his issue with that term and the conclusions in the report.

A 12-page report produced by the FBI calls "Black Identity Extremists" a threat toward police.

This report has several activists in Memphis very upset.

The news magazine Foreign Policy leaked the report produced by the FBI's counter-terrorism division. In it, it says:

"It is very likely Black Identity Extremists perceptions of police brutality against African American spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will likely serve as justification for such violence."

“It's confusing in a sense because it seems to articulate that there is something wrong with identifying with blackness when we see so many people who identify with white nationalism that get called by the President and others ‘Good people,’” said community activist Pastor Earle Fisher.

Fisher, also a member of Black Lives Matter, says the FBI’s use of the new term "Black Identity Extremists" is very troubling to him.

“Does me loving my blackness make me a black identity extremist?” Fisher asked. “And if so, what does that say about the state of the country or the state of the community?”

The report, dated in August, says in the FBI's opinion, there could be future attacks on police officers at the hands of "Black Identity Extremists."

“Continues to fan the flames of distrust,” Fisher said. “So, at the bottom of a declaration like this, this continues to widen the gap between what we believe should be community-style policing and law enforcement. And what looks more like racial profiling, stop and frisk 2.0 and other unjust measures of surveillance.”

A spokesperson for the FBI released the following statement to WMC Action News 5:

"We have no comment on the report that you cited in your email.

"With regard to the FBI's Domestic Terrorism investigative program, the threat of domestic terrorism remains a priority for the FBI.  It is important to note that the FBI cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights.   

"Domestic terrorism groups differ from traditional criminal groups in that they take action for a different purpose, to bring attention to a social or political cause. Therefore, their existence as a group has a legitimate purpose, at least in part. Their legitimate activity may include acts of protest, advocacy, and civil disobedience.  The FBI's domestic terrorism program identifies nine persistent extremist movements in the US: white supremacy, black identities, militia, sovereign citizens, anarchists, abortion, animal rights, environmental rights, and Puerto Rican Nationalism.  This does not preclude the FBI from investigating all other unique, extremist ideologies furthered wholly or in part through crime and violence are addressed as they arise.

"The FBI may only initiate an investigation based upon information or allegation that an activity constitutes a federal crime or a threat to national security.  Furthermore, the FBI does not and will not police ideology. When an individual takes action based on belief or ideology and breaks the law, the FBI will enforce the rule of law."

To see the full report, click here or read it below. 

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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