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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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June 24, 2016 2

Law Enforcement: Standing in the Line of Fire

The recent attack on the les­bian, gay, bisex­ual and trans­gen­der (LGBT) com­mu­nity in Orlando that left 49 dead and more than 50 wounded is yet another exam­ple of law enforce­ment stand­ing in the line of fire in the fight against domes­tic extremism.

From 2009 to the present, at least 64 mem­bers of law enforce­ment have been shot by domes­tic extremists–including anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, domes­tic Mus­lim extrem­ists and oth­ers. Eigh­teen of those shoot­ings were fatal. Addi­tional offi­cers might have lost their lives had they not been wear­ing pro­tec­tive vests or, as in the case of the Orlando attack, a Kevlar helmet.

Since Jan­u­ary 2009, ADL has tracked 68 sep­a­rate inci­dents (includ­ing seven so far this year) in which shots have been fired between domes­tic extrem­ists and law enforce­ment in the United States. These inci­dents include sit­u­a­tions in which shots were 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.

The moti­va­tions that led the extrem­ists to vio­lence dur­ing these encoun­ters vary. Many were sim­ply try­ing to escape after police offi­cers caught them engaged in crim­i­nal behav­ior unre­lated to their extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy. For oth­ers the encounter with police became the cat­a­lyst for vio­lent ide­o­log­i­cal action. In some cases, vio­lence esca­lated to a “last stand” sit­u­a­tion in which the extremist(s) had to have known their actions would likely result in their own deaths. The most dis­turb­ing inci­dents, how­ever, are those (like the Orlando attack) in which the encounter occurred as police responded to and con­fronted extrem­ists who were in the midst of a directed and planned attack. TW-TargetsofAttacks

Fif­teen (22%) of the 68 extrem­ist encoun­ters with law enforce­ment were the result of direct attacks by the extrem­ists. In other words, these encoun­ters started purely due to the extremist’s ide­ol­ogy. In six of those cases, the extremist(s) con­ducted planned attacks on civilians–including the LGBT com­mu­nity in Florida, a Sikh tem­ple in Wis­con­sin, a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic in Col­orado, and employ­ees of the Trans­porta­tion Secu­rity Admin­is­tra­tion at the Los Ange­les air­port. In seven cases, the ini­tial attack was directed at law enforce­ment, and resulted in the assas­si­na­tions of three offi­cers. In Jan­u­ary of this year, an addi­tional offi­cer mirac­u­lously sur­vived an assas­si­na­tion attempt in Philadel­phia. In the remain­ing two cases, extrem­ists attacked mem­bers of the U.S. military.

Since 2009, offi­cers have encoun­tered domes­tic extrem­ists in 28 dif­fer­ent states. Sev­eral states have expe­ri­enced mul­ti­ple inci­dents. Texas law enforce­ment has endured 10 of the 68 encoun­ters (nearly 15%). In four of the Texas cases, the extremist(s) were linked to the Aryan Broth­er­hood of Texas or the Aryan Cir­cle, demon­strat­ing the state’s par­tic­u­lar prob­lem with large white suprema­cist prison gangs. In fact, mem­bers of racist prison gangs were involved in three of the seven shoot­ing inci­dents which have already occurred this year—including encoun­ters in Texas, Alabama and Colorado.

Florida has with­stood the sec­ond high­est num­ber of inci­dents, reach­ing eight encoun­ters with the addi­tion of the Orlando attack. Col­orado offi­cials have faced five inci­dents, and suf­fered through the loss of Col­orado Springs Offi­cer Gar­rett Swasey. Swasey, the most recent law enforce­ment casu­alty at the hand of domes­tic extrem­ists, died in the line of duty dur­ing a mass shoot­ing by an anti-abortion extrem­ist in Novem­ber 2015 at a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic.

Unfor­tu­nately ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ists con­tinue to add to the dan­gers faced by law enforce­ment. An untold num­ber of lives were saved due to the efforts of the law enforce­ment offi­cers who con­fronted the 76 extrem­ists involved in these 68 inci­dents. These offi­cers put them­selves into dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions in order to pro­tect and serve the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live.

 

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June 7, 2016 5

Attacks Against Police Are Not Hate Crimes

The Anti-Defamation League and many other groups have deep con­cerns about a new Louisiana statute – the so-called “Blue Lives Mat­ter” law – that inserts police and fire­fight­ers into the state’s hate crime law.    ADL is proud of the spe­cial con­nec­tions and joint ini­tia­tives we have with the law enforce­ment com­mu­nity.  As the non-governmental agency that works most closely with and trains more state and local police and fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials than any­one else, we strongly sup­port laws that deter attacks against police.  In Louisiana – and nearly every other state – an assault against a police offi­cer is already a seri­ous crime, car­ry­ing a more severe penalty than an assault against a civil­ian.  There­fore, Louisiana’s new “Blue Lives Mat­ter” law is unnec­es­sary, and could even make it more dif­fi­cult to pros­e­cute attacks against police.

Police groupHate crimes tar­get indi­vid­u­als or insti­tu­tions because of race, reli­gion, national ori­gin, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der, dis­abil­ity, or gen­der iden­tity, focus on per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics.  They are designed to intim­i­date the vic­tim and mem­bers of the victim’s com­mu­nity, leav­ing them feel­ing fear­ful, iso­lated, vul­ner­a­ble, and unpro­tected by the law.   These inci­dents can dam­age the fab­ric of our soci­ety and frag­ment communities.

Crimes against police also, obvi­ously, have a seri­ous and deeply harm­ful com­mu­nity impact.   But adding police – or any other cat­e­gory based on voca­tion or employ­ment – con­fuses the pur­pose of hate crime laws, and threat­ens to make crimes against police more dif­fi­cult to prove.  If police are included in hate crime laws, pros­e­cu­tors would face the addi­tional require­ment of hav­ing to prove both that the per­pe­tra­tor attacked the offi­cer – and that the act was com­mit­ted because he/she was a police offi­cer.  That addi­tional intent require­ment, which is not included in exist­ing laws cov­er­ing attacks on police offi­cers, would make pros­e­cu­tions more dif­fi­cult, not easier.

While there is wide­spread doc­u­men­ta­tion that hate crimes based on per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics are down­played and under­re­ported, there is no evi­dence that pros­e­cu­tors any­where in the coun­try are fail­ing to vig­or­ously inves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute crimes against police.  To fur­ther high­light their seri­ous treat­ment, the FBI spe­cially tracks and pre­pares an annual report on these crimes,

Louisiana should recon­sider, and its statute should not be repli­cated by other states.

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