The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have been monitoring Black Lives Matter protests as potential threats following the killing of five Dallas police officers by Micah Xavier Johnson in 2016, according to recently released documents.
According to Al Jazeera, the documents were obtained following a lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the civil rights group Color of Change (COC).
The bureau began warning of “attacks against law enforcement” after Johnson killed five police officers last year at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, Texas. Though they concluded that Johnson acted alone, the agency began suggesting that Johnson's actions were part a larger threat of “black supremacist extremists.”
“We've obtained FBI documents that suggest protests against violence - specifically, crisis-level police killings of unarmed black people - are presumptively threatening,” Omar Farah, lead attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Al Jazeera.
“And we have obtained an entire DHS report devoted to the threat posed by groups reacting to demonstrably violent, retrograde white supremacists. Read together, the documents reflect an unsettling blindness to the real challenges our society continues to face.”
The FBI has also been monitoring what they call “Black Identity Extremists,” terminology used in a bureau report released in August. The report in question was titled ”Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers.” The document was sent to military personnel and police officers all across the country.
“It's a characterization and it's very inaccurate of the movement that is going on,” CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La said. Richmond and other black lawmakers met with FBI director Christopher Wray Wednesday to discuss the document.
“We don't want anyone to view Black Lives Matter or other organizations that protest as an extremist group or a domestic terrorist group because we think that's very dangerous,” Richmond said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the report during testimony to the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.