BLACK Lives Matter was called a “terrorist group” that was said to be plotting a violent overthrow of the government in a police training guide two months ago.
International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) sent thousands of its members a link to the 176-page guide in October as part of a news email update.
Critics of the document, reported by The Associated Press on Wednesday, said it contained misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric.
The doc – titled Understanding Antifa and Urban Guerrilla Warfare – is said to contain information that might incite police officers against protesters and people of color.
The training guide claims that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are “revolutionary movements whose aims are to overthrow the U.S. government.”
The guide also reportedly alleges BLM and the leftist protest group are planning “extreme violence.”
It has many unsupported claims – including that both movements have “trained, dedicated snipers” stationed in certain cities, are fronts for Russia and China, and planned attacks before and after last month’s presidential election.
The doc also claims that those who protested in Portland and Seattle this year were “useful idiots” designed to give cover to the “hard-core, terrorist trained troops” that would follow.
“Extreme acts of violence are expected and called for,” the document warns.
The paper claims that military officials who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned about the movements because they “have witnessed these types of terrorist groups organizing, creating insurgencies and the horrible consequences of it.”
The police training guide also claims the FBI is “clueless” about the nature of their supposed threat and, like the news media, has wrongly focused attention on violence carried out by white supremacists.
Harvey Hedden, who serves as the group’s executive director, said the document was a member’s opinion, and said it was open for debate and criticism.
“There will always be differences of opinion on training issues but so long as the disagreements remain professional and not personal we do not censor these ideas,” he told the AP.
“I am willing to allow the trainer to evaluate the information themselves.
“Just like law enforcement, I am afraid BLM has earned some of these criticisms and others might be overgeneralizations,” Hedden said.
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 after black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Florida by one-time community watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted.
The movement has grown as fatal shootings of black people by police officers are increasingly recorded and shared on social media, sometimes as confrontations are still unfolding.
Black Lives Matter regularly campaigns against institutional racism and violence towards black people, and speaks out against police brutality, and racial inequality.
ILEETA’s mission statement says the police group is “committed to the reduction of law enforcement risk” and saving lives through high-quality training.
Phillip Atiba Goff, a Yale University professor who is an expert on racial bias in policing, said the document is dangerous.
“It’s stunning. It’s distressing in many ways. It’s untethered to reality,” Goff, CEO of the Center for Policing Equity, said.
“I worry that it leads to people dying unnecessarily.”
Goff added that police execs he’s spoken to about the training document said they're "disturbed by it."
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He and others said it was irresponsible for the group to promote the paper.
Goff, whose group works with departments to make policing “less racist and deadly,” said the document showed why it’s important for critics to engage directly with local law enforcement to make changes.
Otherwise, he said, “you are abandoning that profession to the worst impulses of this country.”