A leaked document from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counter-terrorism department revealed that the US government views “Black identity extremists” as a threat, reports the Guardian.
The August 2017 report, which was acquired by Foreign Policy, shows that government officials are worried that individuals will seek retaliation against law enforcement officers due to the rise in police brutality incidents, the news outlet writes.
“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,” read the report. It also stated that the tarnished relationship between police officers and communities of color will “feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity.”
The New York Daily News reports that the death of Michael Brown—a Black unarmed teenager who was fatally shot in August 2014—was noted in the report as an incident that may have incited violence against police.
Black activists who are on the front lines fighting for justice have received an immense and unjust amount of scrutiny from the US government. Activists say that the monitoring violates their right of free speech. “It marginalizes what are legitimate voices within the political debate that are calling for racial and economic justice,” Mohammad Tajsar, staff attorney, American Civil Liberties Union told the Guardian.
According to a report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there have been 98 law enforcement deaths in 2017, reports the New York Daily News. 748 people have lost their lives at the hands of police officers this year.
Black activists being targeted and monitored by the FBI is nothing new. Leaders of the Black Panther Party had to endure the same type of scrutiny in the 60s and 70s that Black Lives Matter and other groups are faced with today. This report comes at a time where racial tensions are at an all-time high across the country following the events that took place in Charlottesville and the government’s failure to label the man behind the Las Vegas massacre as a “terrorist.”