White Supremacist Infiltration Of US Police Forces

| Educate!

Above photo: Stop Killing Black People. From Catholic Masses.

Fact-Checking National Security Advisor O’Brien.

Systemic racism in US Police Forces is than “a few bad apples.”

On Sunday morning, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked President Trump’s National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, whether he thinks “systemic racism” is a problem in law enforcement agencies in the United States. O’Brien responded: “I don’t think there is systemic racism. I think 99.9 percent of our law enforcement officers are great Americans,” said O’Brien. “But … there’s a few bad apples.”

There are two flaws in O’Brien’s response. First, O’Brien ignores the well-documented support by law enforcement officers of alt-right extremist ideology throughout the country. Second, O’Brien misunderstands the nature of systemic racism—a term that means that institutions we have in place produce racially disparate effects on minority populations—in his discussion of individual officers.

An FBI intelligence assessment—titled “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement” and published in 2006 during the administration of President George W. Bush—raised alarm over white supremacist groups’ interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” The report, based on FBI investigations and open sources, warned, for example, that skinhead groups were actively encouraging their members to become “ghost skins” within law enforcement agencies, a term the report said white supremacists use to describe members who “avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.”

In 2015, a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide, obtained by The Intercept, stated that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.”

FBI Assessment 2006 White Supremacist Infiltration Law Enforcement by Just Security on Scribd

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report on right-wing extremism and its relationship to “violent radicalization” in the United States. The report’s principle researcher on the subject, Daryl Johnson, later told The Intercept:

“Federal law enforcement agencies in general — the FBI, the Marshals, the ATF — are aware that extremists have infiltrated state and local law enforcement agencies and that there are people in law enforcement agencies that may be sympathetic to these groups.”

This may not be a coincidence.

An investigation published in 2019 by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that hundreds of active-duty and retired law enforcement officers are members of Confederate-sympathizing, anti-Islam, or anti-government militia groups on Facebook. Within these private groups, members often are openly racist. Police officers have also been linked to groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, who believe in defending white Americans from “enslavement” and are actively hostile to immigrants. The investigation identified active-duty and retired police officers as active members in explicitly racist Facebook groups such as “Veterans Against islamic Filth” (the group deliberately lowercases “Islamic” in its name) and “PURGE WORLDWIDE (The Cure for the Islamic disease in your country).”

The leader of the Oath Keepers movement, Stewart Rhodes, bragged in 2009 that his anti-government group includes “thousands of retired and active law enforcement officers.” On May 30, during protests in New York City, a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer appears to have made a hand gesture that has been linked to white supremacist groups, which the New York Attorney General asked to be reported to her office.

The Plain View Project, a database of public Facebook comments made by nearly 2,900 current and former police officers in eight cities, suggested that nearly 1 in 5 of the current officers identified in the study made public posts or comments that appear “to endorse violence, racism and bigotry,” as reported by Buzzfeed News and Injustice Watch in a study of the database. For example, there are 1269 identified problematic posts from active duty Philadelphia police officers on the site. Of the 1073 Philadelphia police officers identified by the Plain View Project, 327 of them posted public content endorsing violence, racism and bigotry. Of those 327, at least 64 hold leadership roles within the force, serving as corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, or inspectors.

The history of racism and white supremacist membership in law enforcement agencies is long and well-documented. In the 1990s, a federal judge found that there was a “neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang” of Los Angeles police deputies – self-styled “the Vikings” – that existed with the knowledge of police department officials. In 2015 and 2016, the San Francisco police department attempted to fire at least 17 officers after investigations revealed they were sending racist text messages. Last year, a police officer in Oregon was linked to the leader of an alt-right white nationalist group.

The Ku Klux Klan historically – and even in recent years – has had ties to local law enforcement. In 2014, a police department in Central Florida fired two officers, one of whom was the deputy police chief, for being members of the Ku Klux Klan (commendably, the information in that case came from the FBI via the Florida Department of Law Enforcement). In 2015, a North Carolina police officer was pictured giving a Nazi salute at a KKK rally.

The failure of police units to discipline police officers over allegations of excessive use of force and/or for racist behavior or actions is part and parcel of the systemic issues protesters have demonstrated over for many years and in recent days.

The officer charged with George Floyd’s murder, Derek Chauvin, was the subject of at least 17 misconduct complaints prior to Floyd’s death, almost all of which resulted in no discipline and the rest of which concluded with only a letter placed in his file. News reports say the nature of the complaints is unclear from the information the Minneapolis Police Department released, and that the department wouldn’t provide details.

In 2018, Buzzfeed News reported that at least 319 NYPD employees committed offenses, including harassment and assault in some cases, that were sufficient cause for termination between 2011 and 2015, but for which they were not fired. “Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily,” according to the news outlet. Some officers who declined to be identified told Buzzfeed the internal investigations into the actions were “rife with favoritism, racism, and pressures to just plead guilty.”

Disciplinary systems that struggle to hold officers to account for other offenses will similarly fail to remove racist police officers, undermining public trust in entire departments. In Chicago, according to the Citizens Police Data Project, only 7 percent of all police complaints have resulted in any disciplinary action, including allegations of police officers using racial slurs. In 2018, the chief of police in Elkhart, Indiana not only did not discipline an officer but promoted him to sergeant despite the officer “using police communications equipment to refer to white power,” reports ProPublica.

Minneapolis Lieutenant Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, was previously a named defendant in a discrimination lawsuit brought by four black Minneapolis police officers against the Minneapolis Police Department for discrimination. In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the Lieutenant openly wore a “White Power badge” on his a motorcycle jacket. Kroll, who admits that he is sometimes called racist but rejects the characterization, has referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “terrorist organization.”

As further indication of the extent of racism within law enforcement, under the Obama administration,15 police departments across the United States entered into consent decrees for police reform, which are binding agreements on police to enact court-enforced reforms, such as “preventing discriminatory policing and excessive force,” among other measures. The Justice Department report of its consent decree in Chicago, for instance, revealed that police department received over 30,000 complaints of officer misconduct in five years and determined that a “systematic pattern of excessive force within the Chicago Police Department has eroded trust among minority communities.”

Notably, on March 31, 2017, Trump’s former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, ordered the Justice Department to review Obama-era consent decrees on police department reform and curbed their use by requiring political appointees to sign off on any future settlements. The Trump administration restriction on the use of the decrees was characterized as a transition away from protecting civil rights to promoting law and order. During his nomination hearings, Attorney General William Barr said he supported the Sessions’ policy. To date, the Trump administration has not issued any new consent decrees against police forces within the United States.

Of course, clearly by no means all police units or all members of police forces in the United States are members of racist or white supremacist groups or support alt-right ideology. Notable examples of strong relations with citizens and community-led policing in response to this past week’s protests include New Jersey police officers marching with Black Lives Matters protestors, the Dallas and Georgia’s police chiefs listening to and walking with protestors, and police in both New York City and South Florida kneeling in solidarity with protestors. In Flint, Michigan, Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson removed his riot gear and 

But the term “systemic racism” does not mean that individuals who operate within the system are generally racists. Instead, it means the institutions we have in place produce racially disparate effects on minority populations. And, in that regard, there are well-documented empirical studies of systemic racism in law enforcement agencies—including the use of policies like stop and frisk and disparate rates of policing activities including traffic stops, searches of motorists during traffic stops, levels of respect shown during stops, misdemeanor arrests, marijuana arrests, use of SWAT teams, individuals jailed for inability to pay petty fines for moving violations, militarized policing of different neighborhoods, resolution of murders of white versus black victims, sustained complaints against police officers, and unarmed victims of police shootings.

The evidence of links to explicit white supremacist groups is surely only the tip of a racist iceberg. Other forms of racism that affect all our institutions—without sparing law enforcement agencies—include explicit and implicit racial bias. O’Brien’s comments leave no assurance that he has a command of the facts or if he does that he is willing to acknowledge or seriously grapple with them.

  • 0040

    Codswallop ladled out for the faithful ! In fact all of Americas institutions including the banks, various forms of media ,and pro sports , are manned/womened in substantial numbers by various minority groups especially the police and military , that have always been willing to fire on their brethren or take part in monstrous frauds perpetrated by their bosses against the masses.

  • John R.

    So, the big wig talking head says “there are some bad apples in policing that need to be rooted out.” Really ? The cop that shot (and killed) my brother in the back on February 4th, 1967, in Trenton, NJ, didn’t lose his job or get rooted out. Like the Blue Shied always does — they protect their own at the expense of the truth and the lives of real people. My brother is still dead 53-years later and the cop that shot him retired with a full-pension – like nothing ever happened.

  • John R.

    One of the better quotes I’ve come across regarding the recent murder of yet another black man in America comes from the former NBA player Duane Wade, I paraphrase : ‘ Until people that aren’t black are as outraged as we are, nothing will change.’ I am sad to say, I agree with this statement.

    Have you had enough of the standard black and / poor carnage in the US these days — enough of those few with way too much, contrasted with the many millions that never and will never, have enough ? Why do we allow these greedy heartless pigs ?

    Spike Lee recently said , I paraphrase : “There’s nothing new here. This shit’s been happening every day for the past 400-years or so . . . ‘ I am left wondering – how is that some white people can’t or won’t see the injustice here – it’s poking you in the eye and soul, for heaven’s sake ! Imagine trading places with one of those folks . . . how’s that feelin’ ? Or – Do you feel anything at all ?

    I’ve noticed racism for most of my 66-years. I was aware my skin was white and slowly began to understand what that entitled me to possibly, that blacks were not privy – it was understood without mention – it was normal.

    I saw how all blacks were treated growing up in Trenton, NJ. I watched the ghettos vanish, seemingly over night around the mid 60’s and beyond. When I asked “where did they all go ?” The answer was understood (not by me , yet) Who cares where they are – they are not here now.

    There are many unacknowledged issues under the rubble of the lives of countless throw away people here and abroad. Guess whose turn is comin’ up ? It’s a karma thing.

  • Harbinger

    Working class people participate every form of business and government on some level, of course. We have no choice, That does not therefore mean that our grievances are not legitimate.

  • 0040

    Until the industrial revolution began “working people were accurately called slaves or soldiers and in most cases were freer in absolute terms than todays so called working people. So , no it does not invalidate my point, which you have failed to understand.

  • Harbinger

    I didn’t say “working people,” I said working class people.

    Your point, as I understood it, was that since some non-white people persecute other non-white people, persecution of non-white people can therefore not be racism. You see Black faces her and there in positions of power, so you conclude that Black people as a group are not oppressed.

    I pointed out that there are working class people doing the bidding of the owners all of the time, and there are working class people who gain various political offices. That does not therefore mean that working class people as a group are not oppressed.

    Politicians and bureaucrats are not the real power in the US, by the way. The real power rests with the ownership class.

    I have no idea where you are going with slavery, the industrial revolution, etc. I suppose you are saying white people are unfairly blamed. That is easily solved – stop being white people. The very concept of white people – as opposed to everyone else on the planet – was invented by some white people.

  • kevinzeese

    Slave labor is the reality. Minimum wage so people need to work to eat or feed their family. Healthcare, inadequate as it is, tied to employment so to have any access, people must stay at the jobs they hate. Housing eating up one-third to one-half their income so they must work or be homeless. The working class are slaves to lousy, low paid starvation wages.

  • 0040

    Housing costs eats up closer to 80% of working peoples incomes in the Gig economy , only propaganda and massive self deception makes it appear otherwise. The move toward universal healthcare as a human right thanks to Obomber a self described Reagan man is now over. It is now obvious that travel and recreation are also being restricted to those who can pay to play. Travel is forbidden unless exempted by authorities . The Obomber Platinum passport with the Gates visa attached will be unaffordable to the masses . While publicly funded recreational facilities and the travel industry infrastructure are now closing enmasse most of it permanently , taking millions of unionized jobs with them.

  • 0040

    Working class people is a tautology , all working people are of the same class ? Working people is newspeak for slave , but for you slavery appears to be primarily about skin color ?

  • Harbinger

    Travel is not “forbidden unless exempted by authorities.”

    Public recreations facilities have been under attack by the right wing, with acquiescence or complicity from the liberals and Dems for years, as have unions.

    “Millions of unionized jobs” would mean just about all of the private sector union jobs in the US. That is not happening.

  • Harbinger

    A tautology is an assertion that is true in all cases, and is therefore meaningless. Clearly, “working class” is not a tautology. It isn’t even an assertion. Yes, saying that all working class people are working class people and are therefore in the same class would be tautological. But I didn’t make that assertion. This is about definitions, perhaps, but not about any assertions.

    In the English language, over the last 100+ years, the term “working class” was coined and has been universally accepted to mean the group of people who must sell their labor in order to survive, as opposed to the much smaller group of people that do not. It is not really “newspeak” since it has been around for a while now.

    You may wish to define the term differently, but the reality I am talking about still exists regardless of the name attached to it. You may disagree that making a distinction between those who must sell their labor, and those who do not but rather live off of the fruits of labor of those who do, is useful. That is fine. The owners have a small army of people denying that class struggle exists. Of course, the owners themselves know that it exists, they would just rather that you do not.

    You need not get too radical to see things the way I am describing them here, and all but those shilling for the owners do see things this way.

    In the US and Europe and the European colonies, historically, yes, slavery has been primarily about skin color. But I was not addressing that.

    I am saying that the struggle against racism is a working class struggle, and that racism is a tool used by the owners to divide the working class, leading whites to dismiss efforts at fighting back against the ownership class by their brothers and sisters who happen to be born non-white. This has been a powerful and very effective tool in the hands of the bosses for a long time now., loading working class whites to identify with the bosses rather than their fellow working class people, as I am afraid you are doing here.

    The fight against racism can only help working class whites. “White” is fool’s gold. The resistance to that fight can only serve the ownership class, the smaller and smaller number of people controlling all of the world’s wealth and thereby wielding power over all of us.

  • 0040

    Look up the definition of tautology ? The one you have invented here is inaccurate.

  • 0040

    It certainly is . Turn on your TV nothing but urging and warnings to stay home. Currently enforcement is spotty but ramping up . Covid is a world wide panic causing those activities and the jobs that go with it to crash globally .Your dislike of my opinions clouds your understanding of my posts??

  • Collectivist

    “I am saying that the struggle against racism is a working class struggle, and that racism is a tool used by the owners to divide the working class, leading whites to dismiss efforts at fighting back against the ownership class by their brothers and sisters who happen to be born non-white.This has been a powerful and very effective tool in the hands of the bosses for a long time now.”

    Self evident to conscious and conscientious people.

  • Harbinger

    Oh, so the TV is giving you orders? What I see from mass media is “open it up!!! Hit the beaches! We demand our haircuts! Real men don’t wear masks!”

    Millions of us are out protesting the actual killing of people by the government. You are whining about a few minor restrictions suggested for the sale of public health. Quite a contrast.

  • Harbinger

    Okey dokey.

    Arguing about definitions is the last refuge for one who has been thrashed in a debate.