Last July, the group Black Lives Matter (BLM) held a protest in Dallas, during which five police officers were gunned down and seven others wounded by a sniper who fled and was later killed by a police robot armed with an explosive device. It was the deadliest day for law enforcement since the 9/11 terror attacks.
While committing the shooting spree, the gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, stated he wanted to “kill white people,” and especially police officers. During a standoff prior to being killed, Johnson said he would only negotiate with black officers. Johnson was reportedly motivated by police shootings of black men and was known to have anger management issues. A friend said he would watch the 1991 video of the Rodney King beating by police repeatedly.
Besides BLM, Johnson sympathized with or “Liked” the Facebook pages of the Black Riders Liberation Army, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) and the Nation of Islam, all of which are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Johnson also liked the page belonging to the African-American Defense League, an organization whose leader had called for the murder of U.S. police officers in the wake of the 2014 police killing of mentally challenged Chicagoan Laquan McDonald.
When street music seller Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, the organization “posted a message… encouraging violence against police,” reported the UK’s Guardian newspaper. According to a representative of NBPP, Johnson had asked the Houston chapter of the group why it had not purchased more guns and ammunition. Before his attack, Johnson had posted an angry diatribe against white people on his Facebook page.
Now, nine months after the incident, Enrique Zamarripa, the father of one of the police victims, 32-year-old Dallas Officer Patrick Zamarripa, is suing BLM and 12 other social justice groups in the Northern District of Texas for $550 million. The suit contends BLM incited “civil war between blacks and law enforcement, thereby calling for immediate violence and severe bodily injury or death” to police officers.
The lawsuit refers to BLM as a “violent and revolutionary gang” and says that “while defendant Black Lives Matter claims to combat anti-black racism, the movement has in fact incited and committed further violence, severe bodily injury and death against police officers of all races and ethnicities, Jews, and Caucasians.”
Enrique Zamarripa says, “I want justice for my son. He served three tours in Iraq, he protected his country, and he protected everybody. And he gave up his life doing that.”
The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Zamarripa by Freedom Watch, a nonprofit group that has sued Hillary Clinton for her role in the Benghazi consulate attacks of 2012 and former President Obama over issues such as immigration, gun control legislation and biological epidemic readiness.
BLM, which up until this point has consisted only of a loose national structure with 30+ regional chapters, was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi in 2013. Despite having no official registration as a formal nonprofit organization, it’s received more than a hundred million dollars in donations from both the Ford Foundation and billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who’s also named in Zamarripa’s lawsuit.
BLM has been criticized for its anti-police stance by Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and by police officers in the states of Oregon and North Carolina. In the latter case, a police chief in Surf City retired after referring to BLM as a “terrorist group.”
The chief of the St. Louis (Missouri) Police Department, Sam Dotson, coined the term “The Ferguson Effect” to account for the rise in violent crime throughout the U.S. in 2015 following riots in Ferguson, Missouri related to the killing of African-American Michael Brown. According to Dotson, in the wake of many police shootings and subsequent protests, police were less active when enforcing the law because of fears that they might be charged with illegal behavior. As a result, Dotson claims, the homicide rate in 56 American cities rose measurably that year.
In March of 2016, BLM disrupted a planned Donald Trump rally in Chicago, forcing its cancellation. Four BLM protesters were arrested; two were “charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest,” according to the Chicago Tribune. One was “charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing a peace officer.” The fourth person was “charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing a peace officer.”
BLM has also been accused of prejudice against Israel and has been termed an “inherently racist” group by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
For its part, BLM has denounced Micah Johnson, but has never denied that he had participated in its protests. Given that BLM has no formal structure (which may be by design to inhibit lawsuits such as this one), it may be difficult to pin blame on it as a national organization. Nonetheless, it’s lawsuits like this one that will determine how much goodwill the group enjoys from the public in the future.
Currently, approximately 42 percent of white Americans were unsure of their opinion of BLM, while 41 percent thought the group “advocated violence.” Less than 47 percent of white Americans see BLM as a movement versus a slogan, while 67 percent of black Americans feel exactly the opposite.
About 40 percent of white Americans support BLM, and less than 35 percent feel the group would “be effective, in the long run, in helping blacks achieve equality.”
~ Facts Not Memes