Extremism & Terrorism » ADL Blogs
July 19, 2016 23

Alarming Rate of Extremist Related Shootouts with Police in 2016

Since Jan­u­ary 2009, ADL has tracked 70 inci­dents in which shots were fired between police and domes­tic ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ists.  Eighty-four per­cent of those involved were pur­vey­ors of extreme right-wing ideologies. Type of Extreme Ideology 2009 to present

The July 17 attack on Baton Rouge police marks the ninth such inci­dent this year.  With nine inci­dents year-to-date, verses a full-year aver­age of 8.5 for the past seven years (2009–2015), these inci­dents are occur­ring at an alarm­ing rate. They are on pace to match the spike of such inci­dents which occurred in 2013.

This year’s inci­dents have involved a wide-range of ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ists, includ­ing anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, Islamic extrem­ists and left-wing extremists.

Inci­dent sum­maries for 2016:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July: Gavin Eugene Long, who had con­nec­tions with the “Moor­ish move­ment,” an off­shoot of the anti-government extrem­ist sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, was killed by a Baton Rouge SWAT team mem­ber after he ambushed offi­cers respond­ing to a call of a sus­pi­cious per­son with an assault rifle. The shootout started when three offi­cers, Mon­trell Jack­son, Matthew Ger­ald, and Brad Garafola, con­fronted Long near a con­ve­nience store. Long opened fire on the offi­cers, imme­di­ately strik­ing Jack­son and Ger­ald, and shoot­ing Garafola as he tried to assisted the two wounded offi­cers. All three offi­cers died. Long con­tin­ued to engage respond­ing police in shootouts, wound­ing three addi­tional offi­cers.  The shootout ended when a mem­ber of the Baton Rouge SWAT team shot and killed Long from approx­i­mately 100 yards away.

Dal­las, Texas, July: Micah Xavier John­son, who expressed inter­est in and had some ties to mil­i­tant Black Nation­al­ist groups, was killed by a police dur­ing a stand-off after he ambushed a group of police offi­cers dur­ing a protest in Dal­las, Texas. Wear­ing a bul­let­proof vest and armed with three weapons, John­son killed five offi­cers and injured nine oth­ers. Two bystanders were also wounded. Dur­ing the shootout John­son moved from loca­tion to loca­tion, exchang­ing gun­fire with at least 12 dif­fer­ent police offi­cers. After an hours-long stand­off, in which John­son report­edly laughed, sang, and said that he wanted to kill white peo­ple, espe­cially white police, he was killed by a police deployed bomb-carrying robot.

Orlando, Florida, June: Omar Mateen, who pledged alle­giance to ISIS and called the Boston marathon bombers his “home­boys,” opened fire on the patrons of a gay night­club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and wound­ing more than 50. After the ini­tial attack, Mateen took hostages, result­ing in a three-hour stand­off which ended when police entered the build­ing using an armored vehi­cle and stun grenades. Mateen was killed in the fol­low­ing shootout. One offi­cer was shot in the head and suf­fered an eye injury. by year

Doo­ley County, Geor­gia, April: White suprema­cist Joseph J. Harper died after a shootout with law enforce­ment offi­cers who were at his home with a court order to col­lect prop­erty awarded to Harper’s ex-wife. Armed with sev­eral weapons, and wear­ing a gas mask and body armor, Harper allegedly pointed a shot­gun at Doo­ley County deputies who were attempt­ing to retrieve the prop­erty. The deputies retreated and called in the Tri-County SRT Team with sup­port from the Geor­gia State Patrol and Lown­des County SWAT teams, and obtained an arrest war­rant for aggra­vated assault.  Dur­ing the lengthy stand­off that fol­lowed, Harper moved in and out of the home fir­ing rounds at the deputies and SWAT Team who returned fire at least once. After hear­ing a shot­gun blast inside the home, the SWAT team fired can­is­ters of gas and non-lethal deter­rents in to the home.  A short time later a SWAT oper­ated robot found Harper dead of an appar­ent self-inflicted gunshot.

Mobile, Alabama, April: Mobile police arrested white suprema­cist gang mem­ber Ryan Burkhardt after he insti­gated a shootout with police. Accord­ing to the Mobile police chief, Burkhardt shot at under­cover offi­cers who were attempt­ing to arrest him after he allegedly sold them hand­guns and ille­gal drugs.  Burkhardt allegedly first attempted to flee on his motor­cy­cle, but was forced to run on foot after he crashed his motor­cy­cle. As he ran to a nearby field, he fired mul­ti­ple shots at pur­su­ing offi­cers strik­ing one in the abdomen and thigh.  The offi­cers returned fire strik­ing Burkhardt twice.  Burkhardt, a mem­ber of the Mis­sis­sippi Aryan Broth­er­hood, faces five counts of attempted mur­der, attempt­ing to elude police, and carry a pis­tol with­out a permit.

Crocket, Texas, March: Mem­bers of the Crocket police depart­ment arrested a man and woman with ties to the Aryan Broth­er­hood after they shot at police dur­ing a car chase. Police encoun­tered Earl Davis Williams and Kayleigh Anne Davis, both of Geor­gia, after respond­ing to call to a trailer park about a man try­ing to break into trail­ers. As offi­cers arrived they saw the vehi­cle leav­ing and stopped it. As one offi­cer was speak­ing with the occu­pants, another offi­cer called out an alarm that an occu­pant was armed with a shot­gun, and the dri­ver sped away.  Dur­ing the sub­se­quent chase the pas­sen­ger shot out the back win­dow of their vehi­cle and shot two Crock­ett county patrol cars in pur­suit. Both Williams and Davis were arrested after they crashed their car and fled on foot.  The offi­cers were not injured.

Evans, Col­orado, Feb­ru­ary:  Luke Miller, a wanted felon and a mem­ber of the Aryan Broth­er­hood, was killed by police after he shot at a police offi­cer and ignored com­mands to drop his weapon. Offi­cers with the Evans Police Depart­ment first encoun­tered Miller when they approached two sus­pi­cious men in a secluded area while respond­ing to a report of a sus­pi­cious vehi­cle in the area.  One of the men, later iden­ti­fied as Miller, fled on foot and later shot at one of the offi­cers dur­ing a 90-minute multi-agency search.  Even­tu­ally cor­nered by offi­cers, Miller was shot after he again raised his gun at police and yelled, “Shoot me. Kill me.”

Burns, Ore­gon, Jan­u­ary:  Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, one of the anti-government extrem­ists involved in the Jan­u­ary 2nd armed takeover of the Mal­heur National Wildlife Refuge head­quar­ters near Burns, Ore­gon, was fatally wounded by Ore­gon State Police (OSP) troop­ers dur­ing an attempt by the OSP and the FBI to arrest Finicum and a num­ber of key occu­piers. Finicum was shot after he fled a traf­fic stop, exited his vehi­cle in a snow bank, and reached for a weapon in his pocket.

Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia, Jan­u­ary: Edward Archer report­edly approached Philadel­phia police offi­cer Jesse Hartnett’s patrol car, and using a stolen semi-automatic hand­gun, fired at least 13 shots directly into the driver-side area of the vehi­cle. Archer report­edly told police his alle­giance was to ISIS and believed that police defend laws con­trary to the teach­ings of the Qu’ran.

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July 18, 2016 1

The Washitaw Nation and Moorish Sovereign Citizens: What You Need to Know

GavinLongAfter author­i­ties iden­ti­fied Gavin Eugene Long as the man who shot and killed three police offi­cers from Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge on July 17, uncon­firmed media reports claimed that Long (who also used the name Cosmo Sete­penra) had con­nec­tions with the anti-government extrem­ist sov­er­eign cit­i­zen movement.

Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that a con­spir­acy sub­verted and replaced the orig­i­nal U.S. gov­ern­ment with an ille­git­i­mate “de facto” gov­ern­ment, but that peo­ple can take steps to divorce them­selves from the ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment, after which its laws, taxes, reg­u­la­tions and courts have no more author­ity over them.

These rumors were soon confirmed—though it is clear that Long’s beliefs also extend far beyond the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment into other areas as well—with the Kansas City Star unearthing sov­er­eign cit­i­zen doc­u­ments filed by Long that indi­cated an affil­i­a­tion with the “Washitaw Nation,” one of many con­cepts asso­ci­ated with the so-called “Moor­ish move­ment,” or “Moor­ish sov­er­eign move­ment,” an off­shoot of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment that com­bines long­stand­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zen beliefs and tac­tics with some newer, pri­mar­ily Afro­cen­tric notions.

Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens emerged in the mid-1990s on the East Coast when some peo­ple began to merge sov­er­eign cit­i­zen ideas with some of the beliefs of the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple, a reli­gious sect dat­ing back to 1913.  As sov­er­eign cit­i­zen notions attracted more Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple adher­ents, the Moor­ish sov­er­eign move­ment was born.  While still retain­ing most “tra­di­tional” sov­er­eign cit­i­zen pseudo-historical and pseudo-legal the­o­ries, Moor­ish sov­er­eigns added new ideas, includ­ing the notion that African-Americans had spe­cial rights because of a 1780s treaty with Morocco, as well as the belief that African-Americans were descended from African “Moors”—and often as well the belief that African-Americans were also a peo­ple indige­nous to the Americas.

WashitawNationBookThrough the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment grew, gen­er­at­ing a large num­ber of groups and gurus to pro­mote Moor­ish sov­er­eign ideas, it also absorbed other black sov­er­eign groups that had begun inde­pen­dently.  The most impor­tant of these was the Washitaw Nation, which began in the mid-1990s in Louisiana, started by the “Empress” Ver­diacee “Tiara” Washitaw-Turner Gos­ton El-Bey, who claimed to head the Washitaw Empire.  Washitaw Nation adher­ents claimed to be descended from the ancient mound-builders of the Mississippi-Missouri Val­ley and to actu­ally own the Louisiana Purchase.

After the “Empress” retired, the orig­i­nal Washitaw group fell apart, replaced with a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent groups and indi­vid­u­als tak­ing up the “Washitaw Nation” man­tle.  So today there is not just one “Washitaw Nation,” but many, mak­ing it one of the most impor­tant wings of the Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen movement.

Since 2009, the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment has expe­ri­enced a major resur­gence, includ­ing among African-Americans.  Both Moor­ish and non-Moorish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen ideas have spread rapidly within the African-American com­mu­nity, aided by social media web­sites such as YouTube and Face­book.   Moor­ish and non-Moorish sov­er­eign ideas alike have also spread in pris­ons and jails across the country.

Most sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are still white, but in a num­ber of cities with large African-American pop­u­la­tions such as Chicago, Detroit, Philadel­phia and oth­ers, African-Americans now com­prise the major­ity of sov­er­eign cit­i­zens.  Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens can today be found in any area with a sub­stan­tial African-American population.

Key Attrib­utes of the Moor­ish Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen Movement

  • Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens engage in the same crim­i­nal activ­i­ties as “tra­di­tional” sov­er­eign cit­i­zens do, includ­ing crimes of vio­lence (includ­ing against police); scams and frauds; and so-called “paper ter­ror­ism” tac­tics, which typ­i­cally involves the use of var­i­ous doc­u­ments and fil­ings to harass, intim­i­date and retal­i­ate against police offi­cers, pub­lic offi­cials, and others.
  • There is still much over­lap between the Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment and the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple (one rea­son many Moor­ish sov­er­eigns add the words –El or –Bey to their names), but not all Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple adher­ents are sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and some vocally oppose sov­er­eign beliefs.
  • There are also African-American sov­er­eign cit­i­zens who do not adopt specif­i­cally Moor­ish sov­er­eign beliefs but only “tra­di­tional” sov­er­eign cit­i­zen notions.
  • Many Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens also pro­mote var­i­ous Afro­cen­tric “New Age” beliefs and concepts.
  • Though the Moor­ish sov­er­eign move­ment is pri­mar­ily African-American in com­po­si­tion, there are a few white peo­ple asso­ci­ated with Moor­ish groups.  More­over, Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are not nec­es­sar­ily black sep­a­ratists nor nec­es­sar­ily con­nected with other black extrem­ist groups (though there is a small amount of overlap).
  • Like tra­di­tional sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are heav­ily reliant upon sov­er­eign “gurus,” who come up with and pro­mote the movement’s ideas and tac­tics.  Some promi­nent Moor­ish sov­er­eign gurus include Taj Tarik Bey; Abdul Ali Muham­mad Bey; Queen Val­lahra Renita EL Harre,Bey; Irv­ing “Hendo” Hen­der­son; and Washitaw Nation fig­ures Wendy Far­ica Washitaw and Fredrix “Joe” Wash­ing­ton (grand­daugh­ter and son of the “Empress” Ver­diacee), among oth­ers. Many Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens may also fol­low “tra­di­tional” sov­er­eign gurus; of these, David-Wynn Miller seems to be rather influ­en­tial among some Moor­ish sovereigns.

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July 15, 2016 0

Terrorist Propaganda Encourages Attacks With Common Items

The use of a vehi­cle to kill civil­ians in yesterday’s appar­ent ter­ror attack in Nice, France, serves as a reminder of how ter­ror­ist groups and their sup­port­ers encour­age their adher­ents to carry out attacks with com­mon resources.

In addi­tion to run-over style attacks, ter­ror­ists have encour­aged the use of com­mon items such as house­hold prod­ucts to make bombs, as well as var­i­ous other tac­tics in their online mag­a­zines, speeches and other propaganda.

Image encouraging car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pocketbook propaganda

Image encour­ag­ing car attacks from AQAP Inspire Mujahid Pock­et­book propaganda

The fol­low­ing list pro­vides a sam­pling of some of the tac­tics pro­moted by for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions in the last sev­eral years. Notably, a num­ber of the sug­ges­tions are repeated by dif­fer­ent groups, and the use of vehi­cles in attacks is a com­mon theme.

ISIS:

  • The 14th issue of Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine, called on sup­port­ers to assas­si­nate promi­nent Mus­lim lead­ers in the U.S. and U.K. for not sup­port­ing ISIS, “with the resources available…(knives, guns, explo­sives, etc.).”
  • In a Jan­u­ary 2015 speech, al Adnani sim­i­larly called for attacks, “whether with an explo­sive device, a bul­let, a knife, a car, a rock or even a boot or a fist.”
  • An ISIS video released in Decem­ber 2014 stated, “There are weapons and cars avail­able and tar­gets ready to be hit. Even poi­son is avail­able, so poi­son the water and food of at least one of the ene­mies of Allah. Kill them and spit in their faces and run over them with your cars.”
  • In a Sep­tem­ber 2014 speech that was widely trans­lated and shared over social media, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani called for ISIS sup­port­ers to com­mit lone wolf attacks against civil­ians, and pro­vided a num­ber of sug­ges­tions for doing so, includ­ing by run­ning them over. He stated: “If you are not able to find an IED or a bul­let, then sin­gle out the dis­be­liev­ing Amer­i­can, French­man, or any of his allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaugh­ter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poi­son him…. If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or busi­ness. Or destroy his crops.”

Al Qaeda:

  • Cover of the first issue of Inspire, AQAP's English-language magazine

    The first issue of Inspire pro­vided direc­tions to “make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

    Fol­low­ing the ter­ror attack in Orlando, a June 2016 pub­li­ca­tion released by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) pro­vided advice for mak­ing copy­cat attacks more lethal and max­i­miz­ing their pro­pa­ganda value.

  • In May 2016, the 15th issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda magazine’s pro­vided sug­ges­tions for mak­ing bombs using read­ily avail­able items to con­duct the assas­si­na­tions, includ­ing pack­age bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.
  • In March 2014, the 12th issue of Inspire mag­a­zine pro­vides instruc­tions for assem­bling car bombs out of “eas­ily avail­able” materials.
  • In 2013, Inspire mag­a­zine, AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine, issued a com­pan­ion pub­li­ca­tion titled the “Mujahid Pock­et­book,” which aggre­gated var­i­ous attack sug­ges­tions pro­moted in Inspire and pro­vided some addi­tional sug­ges­tions as well. Plot ideas included torch­ing parked vehi­cles, caus­ing road acci­dents, start­ing for­est fires, using vehi­cles to run over civil­ians, and build­ing bombs.
  • In Octo­ber 2010, sec­ond issue of Inspire mag­a­zine sug­gested using a mod­i­fied vehi­cle to run over civil­ians and pro­vided instruc­tions on build­ing an explo­sive device.
  • The first issue of Inspire mag­a­zine, released in July 2010, pro­vided instruc­tions for build­ing a pres­sure cooker bomb, which can be made out of com­mon house­hold items.

Other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their sup­port­ers have been sim­i­larly active in pro­mot­ing var­i­ous spe­cific attack sug­ges­tions. This has been par­tic­u­larly clear among Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their sup­port­ers, who have pro­moted sug­ges­tions that par­al­lel those advo­cated by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers some­times pro­mote their own ideas for non­tra­di­tional attacks online as well. In a recent exam­ple, a dis­cus­sion on a pro-ISIS forum that ran between June and July 2016 included a num­ber of ter­ror attack sug­ges­tions from forum users, some of which had been sug­gested by offi­cial ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda as well. Among them were set­ting for­est fires and call­ing in false reports of bombs to dis­rupt the oper­a­tions of emer­gency services

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