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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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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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February 25, 2015 6

White Supremacist Gangs: A Growing Problem in Missouri

missouri-white-supremacist-gangs

Mis­souri white suprema­cist gangs

Mis­souri has had long expe­ri­ence with white suprema­cists rang­ing from neo-Nazis to the Ku Klux Klan, but in recent years a new threat has emerged in the Show Me state:   white suprema­cist prison gangs.   Some states have been plagued by such gangs for years, but until recently, Mis­souri had only a lim­ited expe­ri­ence with them.

Now, how­ever, there are a num­ber of white suprema­cist gangs active in Mis­souri, typ­i­cally emerg­ing in pris­ons and jails, then expand­ing onto the streets. These gangs com­bine the crim­i­nal know-how of orga­nized crime with the big­oted ide­ol­ogy of hate groups.

Law enforce­ment has been increas­ingly con­cerned about the spread of such gangs in Mis­souri. Unfor­tu­nately, recent events have jus­ti­fied that con­cern. On Jan­u­ary 26, 2015, a mem­ber of the South­west Honkies gang, Joshua Lee Hagood, shot a Spring­field police offi­cer in the head while police were inves­ti­gat­ing a sus­pi­cious van. The offi­cer sus­tained career-ending injuries. This was actu­ally the sec­ond offi­cer shoot­ing in Spring­field related to the gang. In 2013, Honkies mem­ber Mar­tin Potts wounded another offi­cer dur­ing a shootout before offi­cers fatally shot Potts.

Police have not been the only Mis­souri­ans at risk. In Feb­ru­ary, two South­west Honkies mem­bers, Aaron Williams and Austin Pierce, were charged with a hate crime after allegedly threat­en­ing to kill an African-American woman and her chil­dren while try­ing to break into her house. In Jan­u­ary, a mem­ber of the Joplin Honkies received a seven-year prison sen­tence for assault and aban­don­ing a corpse.

Gangs like the Joplin and South­west Honkies are grow­ing in Mis­souri. Accom­pa­ny­ing that growth is increased crime, typ­i­cally tra­di­tional crimes like home inva­sions or drug-related crime (gangs are often involved with the metham­phet­a­mine trade). Crim­i­nal gain tends to trump white supremacy, but gangs can engage in hate-related vio­lence, too. Gangs often embrace a cruder form of white supremacy than neo-Nazi or Klan groups, but have larger memberships.

There are five main white suprema­cist gangs oper­at­ing in Missouri:

  • Sacred Sep­a­ratist Group (SSG): The Anti-Defamation League first encoun­tered the SSG in 2005, but it has grown con­sid­er­ably in recent years. Like some of the other gangs, it orig­i­nated in the West­ern Mis­souri Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter. ADL has iden­ti­fied mem­bers of this fairly large gang from all over Mis­souri. SSG mem­bers have asso­ci­ated with mem­bers of all the gangs listed here.
  • Joplin Honkies: The Joplin Honkies orig­i­nated behind bars around the same time as SSG. Orig­i­nally, mem­bers called them­selves the Joplin Boys. The Honkies are con­cen­trated in south­west Mis­souri, espe­cially around Joplin and Spring­field.   The ADL has iden­ti­fied dozens of active mem­bers of the Joplin Honkies, but their true num­bers are higher. Off­shoot gangs include the South­west Honkies and the 417 Honkies.
  • Peck­er­wood Mid­west: Mem­bers of this gang have been iden­ti­fied in both east­ern and west­ern Mis­souri, as well as across the south­ern part of the state (Spring­field to Cape Girardeau). ADL has iden­ti­fied at least 34 mem­bers and asso­ciates of this gang, though again, actual num­bers are con­sid­er­ably higher.
  • Fam­ily Val­ues: Fam­ily Val­ues is a smaller gang and not all mem­bers are hard­core white suprema­cists (some even asso­ciate with non-whites). How­ever, a num­ber of iden­ti­fied mem­bers do use com­mon white suprema­cist sym­bols such as swastikas, SS bolts, 14 and 88. A num­ber of gang mem­bers live in or around St. Louis and Springfield.
  • Aryan Cir­cle (AC):The Aryan Cir­cle is not native to Mis­souri but to Texas, where it is one of the largest white suprema­cist prison gangs. It has expanded into a num­ber of other states, recently mov­ing into Mis­souri largely as a result of recruit­ment from Indi­ana and gang mem­bers from fed­eral prison who returned or moved to Mis­souri. ADL has iden­ti­fied at least 23 active mem­bers and asso­ciates of Aryan Cir­cle in Mis­souri, espe­cially in north­east Missouri.

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