White supremacists, militias have infiltrated many US police forces: report

The Brennan Center for Justice says hundreds of cops in over a dozen states have posted racist and bigoted social media content over the last 20 years.

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Hundreds of police officers in more than a dozen states have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content over the last 20 years, according to a fellow with The Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program. 

Cops in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia reportedly have “active links” to law enforcement, says a new report from The Brennan Center for Justice titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement.” 

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Its author, Michael German, concluded that systemic inequities can also instill implicit biases — unconscious prejudices that favor in-groups and stigmatize out-groups — among individual law enforcement officials, influencing their day-to-day actions while interacting with the public.

“Explicit racism in law enforcement takes many forms, from membership or affiliation with violent white supremacist or far-right militant groups, to engaging in racially discriminatory behavior toward the public or law enforcement colleagues, to making racist remarks and sharing them on social media,” the report stated.

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The Brennan Center also found that while the U.S. Justice Department has identified white supremacist groups as a domestic terror threat, the department “has no national strategy designed to identify white supremacist police officers or to protect the safety and civil rights of the communities they patrol.”

German’s report notes that “trust in the police remains low among people of color, who are often victims of police violence and abuse and are disproportionately underserved as victims of crime.” 

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The FBI’s 2015 Counterterrorism Policy Directive and Policy Guide warns that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.”

The Brennan Center for Justice is an independent, nonpartisan law and policy think tank whose mission is to reform, revitalize and, when necessary, defend America’s systems of democracy and justice. Named after progressive Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, it conducts rigorous research to identify problems and craft transformative solutions.

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