The term “black identity extremist” was coined by the FBI and was discovered after a counter-terrorism document from August 2017 was sent to police departments across the U.S. The FBI claimed to be concerned with the activism of the black civil rights movement and their threat to police officers.
Only a few months after the report, the first case of the FBI going after of a BIE emerged, creating concern for many equality activists. This was part of a new COINTELPRO program specifically targeting black activists even though they have not committed crimes.
This may not seem like anything new to many black activists, because similar things have been happening for decades. However, the term Black Identity Extremist is a move to make civil rights activists sound especially terrifying as the agency continues their longstanding tradition of vilifying the black equality movement.
After 2 years of FBI surveillance, on December 12, 2017 in Dallas, Christopher Daniels, also known as Rakem Balogun, was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm when FBI agents raided his home. After 2 years of surveillance, that is the best reason the FBI had to raid his home.
FBI agents made Daniels and his 15-year-old son stay outside in their underwear while they seized 2 firearms the government claims he is barred from owning due to a 2007 misdemeanor domestic assault conviction in Tennessee.
The Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a pro-open-carry group that Daniels helped found, tweeted that Black political activists are being criminalized.
Black Activists are under surveillance by the FBI. From Dallas, to Detroit, to South Carolina, our political activity even when conducted within the law, is being criminalized. @free_rakem #FreeRakemBalogun #BIE #BLM #BlackPanther #BlackLivesMatterhttps://t.co/fRq63qtQfB
— Huey P. Newton Gun Club (@HueyGunClub) January 30, 2018
Foreign Policy reported that Daniels became a person of interest to the FBI in 2015 after right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones posted a video of him at an anti-police brutality protest. Jones is also famous for his conspiracy theories about Sandy Hook mass shooting and other shootings, as well as his alleged relationship with Trump. Jones said Trump called him after the election to thank him for his help during the campaign.
The FBI claims Daniels “openly and publicly advocates violence toward law enforcement” on his Facebook profile, and posted words of admiration for Micah X. Johnson, who killed 5 Dallas police officers in 2016, and Tremaine Wilbourn, who is accused of killing a cop in Memphis, Tennessee.
Despite the high hopes of the FBI and right wing extremists, all charges against Daniels were dropped in May 2018.
Many civil rights activists believe the move by the FBI was purely political, catering to the right wing government fanatics that do not want black equality and do not want police brutality to end. President Trump himself instructed NY police officers to rough up people they put in the back of their cars. Activists also believe their targeting of Daniels shows the longstanding racial bias of the FBI culture.
The FBI report from August 2017 basically said BIEs emerged in response to police brutality against the black community. The report stated, “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 report suggested the BIE ideology increased when police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO in 2014, and more so when the killer cop was not held accountable for his murder.
The report continued, “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. The FBI assesses it is very likely some BIEs are influenced by a mix of anti-authoritarian, Moorish sovereign citizen ideology, and BIE ideology.”
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), the Congressional Black Caucus chairman, fears BIE is the new FBI version of COINTELPRO, referring to the program under J. Edgar Hoover designed to “prevent the rise of a messiah who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement” and monitor, infiltrate and destroy civil rights organizations.
The FBI is spending time focusing on BIEs rather than going after the real threats, such as the white supremacists. The Anti-Defamation League says white supremacists have killed 51 police officers since 1990, while left-wing groups have killed only 11 officers. The FBI is aware that white supremacists are infiltrating law enforcement across the country, but they are not stopping it.
During a November 2017 oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions was being interrogated by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and said he was well aware of the black identity extremists, but claimed to know nothing of white identity extremists.
According to the FBI website, the bureau’s employees are 83.4% white, 6.5% Latino, 4.5% Asian, and 4.4% Black. With statistics like those, can we really expect the agency not to be racially biased?