Another day, another example of the Department of Justice spending time and energy doing exactly the opposite of what they should be doing—this time investigating a group of civil rights activists under the auspices of “domestic terrorism” while considering the Neo-Nazis who fought with the group to be the victims in the situation.
Documents obtained by the Property of the People transparency organization and provided to The Guardian show that FBI opened an investigation into the leftist group By Any Means Necessary after one of the groups members was stabbed during a Neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento in June 2016. According to The Guardian’s report, the FBI started looking into BAMN for possibly infringing on the rights of members of the white nationalist and neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party for their participation in the rally. The group of fascists, on the other hand, simply “consisted of members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda,” according to the FBI.
The Guardian notes that the heavily redacted document does not implicate BAMN in any ongoing threats (duh), or even that they broke the law during the 2016 protest. The paper also points out that the racists being protested were not members of the Ku Klux Klan, as the FBI’s report mistakenly claimed.
Speaking with The Guardian, BAMN’s national chair Shanta Driver painted the FBI’s investigation into the activists as “part of a long-standing policy” by the agency against progressive groups and figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr.
“[The FBI has] a racist history of targeting peaceful civil rights and anti-racist organizations, while doing nothing to prosecute the racists and fascists who attacked Dr. King and the movement he built,” Driver said.
At least seven people were stabbed at the June 2016 melee, where hundreds of counter-protesters fought with members of the Neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party, who organized the rally with the Golden State Skinheads. Among those arrested at the Nazi rally was counter-protester and Berkeley, CA, teacher Yvette Felarca, who is currently standing trial for assaulting a protester.
BAMN isn’t the only left-leaning group that’s been targeted by the FBI. Last month, the Guardian reported that campaigners for the climate activist group 350.org were included in an FBI surveillance report, and yesterday, our sibling site Jezebel reported that the FBI had taken it upon themselves to warn local law enforcement agencies about the danger of “pro-abortion extremists.”
In a statement to The Guardian, an FBI spokesperson declined to explain why the investigation into BAMN was opened. “We cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, natural origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights,” the spokesperson said, adding later: “The FBI does not and will not police ideology.”
When it comes to neo-Nazis who stabbed people in the midst of a riot, perhaps they should.