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June 9, 2014 25

Officers Down: Right-Wing Extremists Attacking Police At Growing Rate

In Las Vegas on June 8, a man and a woman entered a local pizza restau­rant and shot and killed two Las Vegas Metro Police offi­cers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, who were eat­ing lunch there. The shoot­ers then crossed the street to a Wal­mart, where they killed another per­son, then com­mit­ted suicide.officers-killed-domestic-extremists-1965-2014

Though, as of this writ­ing, the names of the sus­pects have not yet been released, details of the shoot­ings and sus­pects released by police or uncov­ered by jour­nal­ists strongly sug­gest the shoot­ings may be the work of right-wing extremists.

If so, the two offi­cers who lost their lives this past Sun­day are only the lat­est in a series of casu­al­ties in a de facto war being waged against police by right-wing extrem­ists, includ­ing both anti-government extrem­ists and white suprema­cists. Some extrem­ists have delib­er­ately tar­geted police, while oth­ers have responded vio­lently when meet­ing police in unplanned encoun­ters. The killings are not the effort of a con­certed cam­paign but rather a series of inde­pen­dent attacks and clashes stem­ming from right-wing ideologies.

In the 1960s and 1970s it was left-wing groups like the Black Lib­er­a­tion Army which tar­geted police for killing. How­ever, by the 1980s, right-wing extrem­ists began to sur­pass left-wing extrem­ists in caus­ing police deaths. The num­ber of offi­cers killed by right-wing extrem­ists more than dou­bled in the 1990s, then increased by 50% more in the first decade of the 2000s. Five offi­cers have been killed by right-wing extrem­ists since 2011, not count­ing the Las Vegas incident.

In the past five years alone, from 2009 through 2013, ADL has tracked 43 sep­a­rate vio­lent inci­dents between domes­tic extrem­ists (of all types) and law enforce­ment in the United States. These inci­dents include sit­u­a­tions in which shots are exchanged between police and extrem­ists (shootouts), sit­u­a­tions in which extrem­ists have fired at police but police sub­dued the extrem­ists with­out hav­ing to return fire, and sit­u­a­tions in which offi­cers had to use their firearms to pro­tect them­selves against extremists.

Of these 43 inci­dents, fully 39 of them involved extrem­ists sport­ing some sort of extreme right-wing ide­ol­ogy. White suprema­cists took part in 21 inci­dents, while anti-government extrem­ists were involved in 17 more. An anti-Muslim extrem­ist was involved in one inci­dent (the other four inci­dents included one with a left-wing extrem­ist and three with domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists). In these shoot­ing inci­dents, the extrem­ists shot 30 offi­cers, 14 fatally. Many other offi­cers sus­tained non-gunfire injuries dur­ing some of these encounters.shooting-incidents-2009-2013-by-ideology

Extreme ide­olo­gies cause right-wing rad­i­cals directly to attack offi­cers. Anti-government extrem­ist such as mili­tia groups and sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that police are agents of the ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment, while white suprema­cists believe that police are tools of the “Jewish-controlled” gov­ern­ment. The same ide­olo­gies some­times cause extrem­ists to act out vio­lently when they ran­domly encounter police in rou­tine situations.

More­over, because right-wing extrem­ists fre­quently engage in crim­i­nal activity—both ide­o­log­i­cal and non-ideological, police respond­ing to reports of crim­i­nal activ­ity may encounter extrem­ists com­mit­ting a crime or who are fugi­tives from jus­tice. Such sit­u­a­tions can also fre­quently turn deadly.

Unfor­tu­nately, rel­a­tively few offi­cer safety courses incor­po­rate infor­ma­tion about the dan­gers to police from domes­tic extremists.

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December 27, 2013 1

Anti-Muslim Group Promotes Offensive Project For Police

ACT! for Amer­ica, a grass­roots anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion that describes Islam as a back­ward and sedi­tious polit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy that poses a threat to Amer­ica and its democ­racy, has launched a project designed to pro­vide law enforce­ment with “the infor­ma­tion, mate­ri­als and train­ing they need to effec­tively under­stand and fight Islamist terrorism.”thin-blue-line-project-act-for-america

How­ever, the Thin Blue Line Project (TBL), a web-portal launched in Octo­ber 2013 that is acces­si­ble to cur­rent and past law enforce­ment offi­cials, con­tains ele­ments that are built on dis­torted and offen­sive claims about Muslims.

For exam­ple, a sec­tion titled “Pedophilia,” advises law enforce­ment of what to be aware of when inves­ti­gat­ing a Mus­lim house­hold. It tells police that “they should be aware of any minors in the home who are not a part of the imme­di­ate family.”

“In some cul­tures,” the sec­tion con­tin­ues, “as our mil­i­tary and oth­ers who have served exten­sively over­seas can attest, hav­ing young males around the house­hold who are used sex­u­ally by the men in the home, is common.”

The TBL also includes a sec­tion that advises police offi­cers on how to iden­tify a “jihadi” dur­ing rou­tine traf­fic stops. Among the indi­ca­tors, accord­ing to this sec­tion, are pam­phlets from the Mus­lim Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion, or tak­ing note of the individual’s accent and “asking[ing] where they are from in a com­fort­able non-threatening tone.”

Rec­om­men­da­tions such as these not only paint a dis­torted view of the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, but also pro­mote big­otry and mis­in­for­ma­tion to law enforcement.

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April 22, 2013 0

Slain Officer Tragic Reminder Of Extremist Dangers To Law Enforcement

Offi­cer Sean Collier

The hunt for sus­pected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsar­naev gripped the nation on April 19 as author­i­ties shut vir­tu­ally the entire city down in their hunt for the deadly fugitive.

Some­what side­lined by the man­hunt was the fatal encounter that touched off the mas­sive search, the shock­ing alleged mur­der by Dzhokhar and Tamer­lan Tsar­naev of a uni­ver­sity police offi­cer the night before.  Around 10:30pm on April 18, police received a call about a con­ve­nience store rob­bery near the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (MIT) in Cam­bridge (the rob­bery later turned out to be uncon­nected).  Shortly there­after, 26-year-old MIT police offi­cer Sean Col­lier, report­edly encoun­tered the two broth­ers, who shot him mul­ti­ple times while he was still in his cruiser, mor­tally wound­ing him.

The broth­ers allegedly car­jacked a Mer­cedes shortly there­after.  Police located the stolen vehi­cle in Water­town, but when the first offi­cer approached the car, the broth­ers allegedly jumped out and opened fire.  As addi­tional offi­cers arrived, the sus­pects allegedly threw explo­sive devices at the offi­cers.  MBTA Tran­sit Police Offi­cer Richard Don­ahue, Jr., 33, received crit­i­cal gun­shot injuries dur­ing this chase, though he is now in sta­ble con­di­tion receiv­ing hos­pi­tal care.  Fif­teen other offi­cers were injured dur­ing the shootout.  Tarmer­lan Tsamaev died in this sec­ond encounter after receiv­ing mul­ti­ple injuries, includ­ing being run over by his own brother dri­ving a vehicle.

The tragic death of Offi­cer Col­lier and the near fatal shoot­ing of Offi­cer Don­ahue high­light the extent to which police offi­cers risk their own lives and wel­fare to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from dan­ger­ous extrem­ists.  How­ever, most Amer­i­cans are not aware how often the nation’s police offi­cers must place them­selves in the line of fire to oppose dan­ger­ous extremists.

Accord­ing to ADL records, Offi­cer Col­lier was actu­ally the 30th police offi­cer to die in the United States at the hands of domes­tic extrem­ists (of all vari­eties) since 2001.  In a num­ber of those instances, the offi­cers, like Col­lier, were killed while encoun­ter­ing a des­per­ate extrem­ist fugi­tive try­ing to evade cap­ture for a pre­vi­ous act.

Just since 2009, 33 shootouts (includ­ing the Water­town event) have taken place between law enforce­ment offi­cers and domes­tic extremists—including right-wing anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, domes­tic Mus­lim extrem­ists and oth­ers.  In those vio­lent encoun­ters, extrem­ists have shot 34 police offi­cers, 11 fatally.  In at least four of those inci­dents, it was prob­a­bly only body armor that saved the offi­cers’ lives.  Almost 25% of these shootouts involved extrem­ists who were fugi­tives or oth­er­wise resist­ing arrest.

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