Prejudice and Bigotry in Law Enforcement


Let us not launch the boat ...
Valued Senior Member
The result, while not exactly surprising, is nonetheless disheartening:

Hundreds of active-duty and retired law enforcement officers from across the United States are members of Confederate, anti-Islam, misogynistic or anti-government militia groups on Facebook, a Reveal investigation has found.

These cops have worked at every level of American law enforcement, from tiny, rural sheriff's departments to the largest agencies in the country, such as the Los Angeles and New York police departments. They work in jails and schools and airports, on boats and trains and in patrol cars. And, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting discovered, they also read and contribute to groups such as "White Lives Matter" and "DEATH TO ISLAM UNDERCOVER."

The groups cover a range of extremist ideologies. Some present themselves publicly as being dedicated to benign historical discussion of the Confederacy, but are replete with racism inside. Some trade in anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant memes. Some are openly Islamophobic. And almost 150 of the officers we found are involved with violent anti-government groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.

The report, from Will Carless and Michael Corey↱ is part one of three in a 2019↱ series↱ for Reveal, and really is just another piece of a much larger puzzle, but even this glimpse, "a tiny, postage-stamp-sized window into Facebook's skyscraper of data", as one analyst described, is dramatic, worrisome, and, yes, far too familiar.

The reporters explain they built two lists from Facebook user groups, "members of extremist groups and members of police groups".

We wrote software to download these lists directly from Facebook, something the platform allowed at the time. In mid-2018, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and after we already had downloaded our data, Facebook shut down the ability to download membership lists from groups. Then we ran those two datasets against each other to find users who were members of at least one law enforcement group and one far-right group.

We got 14,000 hits.

In order to figure out what those fourteen thousand hits actually meant, they "spent months poring over individual Facebook pages, looking for clues", until:

Ultimately, we confirmed that almost 400 users were indeed either currently employed as police officers, sheriffs or prison guards or had once worked in law enforcement.

We then asked to join the closed extremist groups. Many groups ask users questions in order to join, and these often offer insight into the nature of the group. The group "Stop Radical Islam in America," for example, asks, "Why do you personally think Islam should be banned in America?" At least 12 current and former police officers were members of that group ....

.... We used our real names and photos and answered the questions honestly to join these groups. We used general language, often saying we were "interested in learning more." As a result, many of the most extreme groups rejected our application to join, ignored us or blocked us from viewing the group.

But dozens let us in.

As they began contacting individuals and law enforcement agencies, some officers said they were unaware of being part of the group: "And that's probably the case for at least some of these officers, due to Facebook's policies for joining groups." A Facebook policy change occurred in late 2018, and now people need to actually ask to join a group. Still, "that doesn’t apply to dozens of current and retired officers".

We can, of course, pause in the moment and wonder at the state of things if we need investigative reporters to explain, "while groups with overt neo-Nazi, white supremacist or Ku Klux Klan names get shut down relatively quickly by Facebook, hate groups have wised up in response":

As has happened elsewhere on the internet, extremist groups on Facebook often use in-jokes and subtle references in their names to avoid takedown policies. Moderators of closed groups control who can join, and on Facebook, cops can hide who they really are—using false names and listing pretend jobs.

Inside the closed Facebook groups to which we gained access, transparently racist, misogynistic and homophobic content is on full display. We catalogued more than 120 active and retired officers posting in these groups or commenting in support of others.

Then again, not everyone knows, say, Portland, Oregon, so some of what seems blatantly apparent might actually read as news to some: "While the terminology is new and sometimes cryptic, the core messages of the alt-right echo longstanding neo-Nazi and white supremacist premises." I mention Portland, because, as I noted earlier this year↗, it's where the White Aryan Resistance was defeated; Carless and Corey look to a retired corrections officer from Baltimore and a former corrections officer from Arizona, "both members of the Pinochet group until it disappeared from Facebook earlier this month", in which they could be seen making particular racist jokes. To a certain degree, their offensive language is the sort of thing that seems pretty normal to those who have paid attention, over the years, to bigotry on the internet. To the other, a Westchester, New York detective—

… posted a meme with a white man making the "OK" symbol—a favored gesture of the alt-right—and the words "fuckin mint" under a racist joke about Mexicans in December 2017. Earlier, he had commented, "Ha ha ha haaaa. Fuck em," under a "Tucker Carlson Tonight" clip about Mexicans being worried about crime committed by Central American migrants.

And there was an investigation:

In an interview months later, Fumuso said he had retired shortly after the internal affairs investigation. He said the two things had nothing to do with each other.

"I like memes, they make me laugh. I didn’t join to express any racist views," he said. "I don’t care what you think. That’s my opinion. You know what’s a racist comment? ‘Brits are all full of shit.’ "

(The reporter conducting the interview, Will Carless, has a British accent.)

Several officers contacted for this story countered that they have a First Amendment right to opine on social media, even if those opinions are unpopular or offensive to some people.

However, while civilians enjoy First Amendment protection from government censorship or harassment, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that public agencies such as police departments may penalize their employees for speech and behavior in certain cases.

Still, a former federal prosecutor who now works as a police trainer explains, "'Would you, as a cop, in your uniform, put that on a sandwich board and walk up and down the streets of your town?' … And they'll say, 'No, because I could be fired for that.' Well, instead of putting it on a sandwich board, you put it up for the whole world to see, so why would you think it's protected?"

Much of the article really is simply recalling and reporting what they found; a Watkins Glen, New York officer in "two groups connected to the Proud Boys" and "the group 'Kekistani Freestate,'" and, sure, we can chuckle in the moment at the prospect of needing to fret over the kekked, but as much as we really would rather ignore them as much as possible, it comes up.

Or Abbeville, Georgia, where an oficer named Joel Quinn can be found "featuring conspiracy theories and anti-Islam posts on his personal Facebook wall", and posting "inside a Confederate group"; he actually responded, asserting his "responsibility to detect possible threats to my community all the way up to and including my country", and then complained about blacks and hispanics.

And a Wisconsin Department of Corrections officer who participates in "a group that trades in racist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant and homophobic content", and either cannot spell homicide, or tried to work some sort of gay joke into a white supremacist joke.

Best said in an interview that he was apologetic about this and other posts in the group. "Some people" could view his membership in the group as problematic, he acknowledged. However, he said that while some members of the group hold discriminatory views, he does not.

NYPD, provided with an officer participating in thirteen mgtow groups, closed their investigation as unsubstantiated because investigators were "unable to clearly prove or disprove that the subject officer made the offending posts".

An associate, a pretend leftist who speaks rightist-libertarian, does come to mind for having once pitched a fit at me about how people are being fired because some person went out of their way to interpret one word in the worst possible way. Not only was it hardly new, but that complaint about one word is just ridiculous, even without the irony of why he was having a tantrum.

This isn't about one word; it never really was.

What we're seeing now is an example of why.


Carless, Will and Michael Corey. "To protect and slur". Reveal. 14 June 2019. 23 June 2020.

See Also:

—————. "The American militia movement, a breeding ground for hate, is pulling in cops on Facebook". Reveal. 24 June 2019. 23 June 2020.

—————. "American cops have openly engaged in Islamophobia on Facebook, with no penalties". Reveal. 27 June 2019. 23 June 2020.
not exactly a representative sampling
statistically insignificant?
Just the tip of the iceberg, surely. ...
Perhaps not
what you do(or should?) know is that you do not know
and still
To get from .o6% to something statistically significant would be quite a leap.
Statistically insignificant numbers may make for a good headline but are still insignificant for any real-world application.

don't call me shirley

The Oath Keepers are the sort of organization that would station armed volunteers at schools, "whether they want us to, or not", according to its founder in 2018 (Kirkland↱); they also consider students weary of firearm violence as "the enemy".

In the second of a three-part series for Reveal, Will Carless and Michael Corey↱ consider the intersection of milita groups and law enforcement officers on Facebook.

In the years since he founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, Stewart Rhodes has made a bold claim: Within the ranks of his sprawling anti-government militia are thousands of retired and active law enforcement officers.

Rhodes' organization embraces wild conspiracy theories. Like the Three Percenters and other militia groups, the Oath Keepers refuse to recognize the authority of the federal government. Instead, many inside the movement claim that local sheriffs and police chiefs are the highest-ranking officials in America and that the Constitution is the only legitimate law governing the United States. It is part of a broader militia movement that has proven to be a breeding ground for racism and domestic terrorism.

It's been difficult to figure out whether Rhodes' claims were real or simply bluster, because of the secretive nature of the movement and because cops tend to keep their militia affiliations quiet, fearing disciplinary action.

However, over the last year, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting identified almost 150 current and retired cops who were members of Facebook groups run by and for Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and other militias. These law enforcement officers are a subset of a larger contingent of cops we identified as members of Confederate, anti-Islam, misogynistic or other extremist groups on Facebook.

The report also notes Daryl Johnson, former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security: "At a bare minimum," he suggested, "just think about operational security or counterintelligence or insider threats". And while we might recall↑ a prior methodological note that not every cop on the coinciding lists knew they were part of a particular Facebook group; Johnson is speaking of actual membership: "Most of these militia members have sworn an oath to a body that's separate to their department. If they're called on to investigate or arrest a fellow member of that militia group, or if they have insider information about police tactics or equipment or training, then where do their loyalties lie?"

The elements of the conspiracy theories are pretty familiar:

The Oath Keepers and Three Percenters both say they're the last line of defense against a new world order seeking to enslave everyday Americans. They promote the conspiracy theory that the federal government is controlled by a mysterious elitist cabal, which plans to take away Americans' guns, overthrow local governments and install martial law over citizens, including setting up concentration camps to kill dissenters.

Militia groups want cops to join because they have guns, experience and training that will prove invaluable when, as their ideology contends, America's next civil war begins.

Threaded into this worldview is the idea that military personnel and law enforcement officers represent the final word on the Constitution. Members of the Oath Keepers pledge to follow the group's orders and bylaws over those of their own agencies or politicians.

I had different occasion, recently↗, to consider the film version of Starship Troopers, but for those who can remember that, "Service guarantees citizenship"°—here we find a present-day Americanist iteration.

For Carless and Corey, the Facebook groups tell us the "extent to which some cops have embraced the conspiracy theories pushed by militia leaders".

To the one, there are the expected anti-immigrant and anti-leftist attitudes, but those are the sorts of cops the Oath Keepers have recruiting other law enforcers. It might be relevant, then, if a police officer is a national board member of a seditionist-conspiracist group as well as a liason to recruit more cops for voter intimidation.

Or law enforcers who need to pretend the Department of Agriculture conspires to "kill Americans that have no food".

In the closed Facebook group "Central New York Oathkeepers," under a story about the U.S. Department of Agriculture ordering submachine guns, former New York Police Department Sgt. John Mahoney asked a reasonable question:

"Why? Why would the Department of Agriculture require Sub-Machine Guns? Whom are they planning to shoot???"

Another former NYPD cop and group member, Pearse Columb, had an answer:

"They are arming ALL these depts because when the Collapse comes they will call them all out to kill Americans that have no food and the money is worthless."

Reached by phone, Mahoney said he still is involved with the Oath Keepers, which he described as an honorable group. He said he doesn't agree with the actions of all Oath Keepers, but said the organization's principles are sound.

Columb didn't respond to several calls for comment.

A police trainer and former federal prosecutor, Valerie Van Brocklin, "Most cops think that if they're off-duty and using their own computer, then they have their First Amendment rights."

But it's not as simple as that, she said. Police departments have codes of conduct and ethics, and many have developed specific social media policies that employees must abide by, even when they're not working. It's all part of the long-standing concept of "conduct unbecoming a police officer," she said.

Lane Crothers, of Illinois State University, notes that militia members do not generally think of themselves as extremists:

"The militias have this kind of notion of an idealized America," Crothers said. "This notion is a racialized one and a gendered one, but somehow or another, they believe that it's reflecting some kind of constitutional spirit. So from their point of view, they're actually patriots."

The professor and author also notes that law enforcers, often lied to from multiple vectors at once, can be susceptible to conspiracism. When "you know that every word in the PR statement is false", it can become "very easy to accept the deceptions and to imagine the power of conspiracies".

Johnson, the former Homeland Security analyst, put it bluntly:

"These are hate groups," he said. "They pretend they're not, and they've learned to portray themselves as innocent neighborhood watch-type groups, but they're hate groups. They hate Muslims and they hate immigrants and they hate the government. And police officers have been entrusted to protect and serve our communities, so they should be open-minded and unbiased."

The whole thing can feel like it's a mess: Sometimes, it reads like a long, grotesque setup for an absurdist punch line:

Reached by phone, Terwilliger called Reveal's reporting "bogus."

"I love my country, and I think Donald Trump is the best thing to ever happen to America," he said when asked about his activity in the Dirty Dozen group.

And since we need such disclaimers, for whatever they're worth, #NotAllMilitiaCops:

Burton and Schuman did not respond to calls for comment. Rocca and Ricko both said that while they had been briefly interested in the Oath Keepers, they soured on the organization as it became more radical. Both said that they had not been involved with the Oath Keepers for several years and that they disagreed with the group's current direction.

"I signed up at their tent at a motorbike rally, but that's as far as I ever got," Rocca said. "I never attended any meetings or anything like that."

Responses to the journalists' inquiries "ran the gamut":

Some expressed genuine concern and launched internal investigations. Others didn't respond. Some chiefs and sheriffs were furious that we would even question the motives and activities of their employees.

"Call the FBI, call the terrorist watch list, call whoever you want," Chief Steven Dixon of the Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Department screamed at a reporter in a phone call when we told him about Terwilliger's activity in the Three Percenters group. Dixon then hung up.

And it makes a difference.


° I thought to look it up, because, sure, why not, and, yes, there is, in fact, "Service Guarantees Citizenship: Starship Troopers and Democracy" (Brown and Maloyed, 2016↱), because, of course there is.​


There was an occasion, earlier this year↗, when I observed 2019 rumors that the cops were helping antifa, and what the evidence revealed was that the Portland Police Bureau was in deep, aiding and abetting rightists. Carless and Corey, in the first part↱ of their series for Reveal, refer to the same situation:

U.S. law enforcement agencies, many of which have deeply troubled histories of discrimination, have long been accused of connections between officers and extremist groups. At the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, marchers flew a “Blue Lives Matter” flag alongside anti-Semitic and white supremacist messages. In Portland, Oregon, police officers were found to have been texting with a far-right group that regularly hosts white supremacists and white nationalists at its rallies. A classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept, warned that white supremacists and other far-right groups had infiltrated American law enforcement.

Three Percenters and Oath Keepers were among the rightist groups stirring trouble in Portland, Oregon, last year. The one purports to be a Second Amendment organization, "Named for the highly contested theory that only 3 percent of Americans took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War"°. The Reveal report continues, "The core principle of the Oath Keepers is that members take an oath to defend the Constitution above all else".

However, in practice, the group's actions have proved problematic, giving militia members justification to take the law into their own hands, often at gunpoint and often in conflict with law enforcement agencies assigned to keep Americans safe.

Oath Keepers have participated in armed border detentions of migrants and refugees, Bundy insurrections against the federal government, but are also known to distance themselves from groups promoting white supremacism, general mayhem, and even and especially Donald Trump's recent threats to deploy military resources against street protests.

Three Percenter members were convicted in 2018 of a bomb plot against Somali refugees; the 2016 terror scheme worried that President Obama would declare martial law to prevent the election of Donald Trump, so they needed to kill some "cockroaches", i.e., Muslims. Earlier this year, Three Percenters from Illinois pleaded guilty to bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. One of those confessed to and implicated two others in a failed bombing in Champaign, Illinois (Montemayor↱), and I'm trying to remember why the story of endangering children to frame a neighbor with explosives sounds familiar, except, no, that was something else entirely°°.

Oh, right: Portland. Carless and Corey explain, "Officer Eric Salmestrelli of the Portland Police Bureau in Oregon was a member of at least two extremist groups on Facebook—one devoted to the Oath Keepers and one Islamophobic group".

Inside the Oath Keepers group, Salmestrelli had posted several times, including posting a meme asking, “Is Barack Obama a Saudi-Muslim ‘Plant' in the White House?”

Under an article posted by another member about Obama-era policies, Salmestrelli wrote, “Fuck him. And his progressive jihadi agenda.”

The Portland Police Bureau recently came under scrutiny after it was revealed that officers there had a cozy relationship with the group Patriot Prayer, which regularly holds rallies and events in Portland and elsewhere that attract white nationalists and white supremacists. Shortly after we contacted the bureau, Salmestrelli's profile disappeared from Facebook.

In late March, the bureau's acting Internal Affairs Lt. Amanda McMillan said the department had decided to take no action against Salmestrelli. His posts, she wrote, had taken place prior to Salmestrelli joining the department.

“Ultimately, it was determined that, as the posts in question all occurred prior to the member's employment with PPB, no jurisdiction existed,” the letter states.

Salmestrelli couldn't be reached for comment.

Accompanying images show Officer Salmistrelli declaring, of President Obama, "He needs to be stopped", from limiting police access to military gear in a manner progressive critics decry as "superficial" and a "publicity stunt" (Kershner↱).

We might observe that domestic terrorism is among the most persistent threats to American safety and security; as Carless and Corey recall of eight hundred fifty "predicated domestic terrorism investigations", about half of them are what FBI assistant director for counterterrorism Michael McGarrity describes as, "anti-government, anti-authority".


° There is, of course, an infamous envy joke buried in all that, but we can skip it, for now.

°° And the answer, by the way: It doesn't. Well, not that way. No, this is a 2016 bombing in Bundy circles, per Leah Sottile↱:

Tiffany Cluff was inside her house with her three daughters when a man came to the door, said he was going to blow her house up. She should get the kids and leave. The man then lit the fuse on the bomb he had put inside the house, walked to his car, got inside, lit another bomb and shot himself in the head. Then everything blew up.

Brown, Ted Henry and Christie L. Maloyed. "Service Guarantees Citizenship: Starship Troopers and Democracy". Poli Sci Fi: An Introduction to Political Science through Science Fiction. Ed. by Michael A. Allen and Justin S. Vaughn. New York: Routledge, 2016. 24 June 2020.

Carless, Will and Michael Corey. "The American militia movement, a breeding ground for hate, is pulling in cops on Facebook". Reveal. 24 June 2019. 24 June 2020.

—————. "To protect and slur". Reveal. 14 June 2019. 24 June 2020.

Kershner, Seth. "If You Thought Obama Was Giving Less Military Gear to Local Police Departments, You Were Wrong". In These Times. 16 September 2016. 24 June 2020.

Kirkland, Allegra. "In Oath Keepers Webinar, Student Gun Control Activists Are 'The Enemy'". Talking Points Memo. 27 February 2018. 24 June 2020.

Montemayor, Stephen. "How alleged Minnesota mosque bomber tried to build militia in rural Ill." Star Tribune. 18 March 2018. 24 June 2020.

Reveal and Public Radio Exchange. "Bundyville revealed". 10 August 2019. RevealNews.corg. 24 June 2020.

See Also:

—————. "American cops have openly engaged in Islamophobia on Facebook, with no penalties". Reveal. 27 June 2019. 24 June 2020.

Perhaps not
what you do(or should?) know is that you do not know
and still
To get from .o6% to something statistically significant would be quite a leap.
Statistically insignificant numbers may make for a good headline but are still insignificant for any real-world application.

Why do you care about the actual statistics? One is one too many, that's all you need to agree to.
To get from .o6% to something statistically significant would be quite a leap.
I love this angle.

Imagine getting on Joe's Airline and then seeing an ad in the in flight magazine - "at Joe's Airline, only .06% of our pilots use their airplanes for suicide weapons on any given month! 99.94% of you will get there just fine."
The lede from Associated Press↱:

Three members of a North Carolina police department have been fired after a department audit of a video recording captured one of the officers saying a civil war was necessary to wipe Black people off the map and that he was ready.

The downfall of Jessie Moore, Kevin Piner, and Brian Gilmore of the Wilmington Police Department was apparently an "accidental activation" of footage from Piner's car during a video audit.

At the 46-minute mark of the video, Piner and Gilmore began talking from their respective cars, at which time Piner criticized the department, saying its only concern was "kneeling down with the black folks." About 30 minutes later, Piner received a phone call from Moore, according to the investigation, a segment in which Moore referred to a Black female as a "negro." He also referred to the woman by using a racial slur. He repeated the use of the slur in describing a Black magistrate, and Moore used a gay slur to describe the magistrate as well.

Later, according to the investigation, Piner told Moore that he feels a civil war is coming and that he is ready. Piner said he was going to buy a new assault rifle, and soon "we are just going to go out and start slaughtering them (expletive)" Blacks. "I can't wait. God, I can't wait." Moore responded that he wouldn't do that.

Piner then told Moore that he felt a civil war was needed to "wipe them off the (expletive) map. That'll put them back about four or five generations." Moore told Piner he was "crazy," and the recording stopped a short time later.

According to police, the officers admitted it was their voices on the video and didn't deny any of the content. While the officers denied that they were racists, they blamed their comments on the stress on law enforcement in light of the protests over the death of George Floyd.

There is something Onionesque↱ about the debacle: Would the audio have been reported, but for the protests and pressure? Would that report have resulted in significant disciplinary action? Would those officers be referred to the North Carolina Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission to not be rehired? We would like to think the inspecting sergeant would have reported; plenty might doubt it would have cost the cops their jobs; history suggests that, even if it did, they probably could have found work, elsewhere—the Tulia, Texas debacle in 1999, and also the slaying of Tamir Rice in 2014, involved cops who had been fired from other departments in the same states. There is a strong possibility that the protests after four cops slowly killed George Floyd in broad daylight affected Wilmington PD's response. Still, the idea that the officers should claim they're not racists really ought to say something about the dimensions of the problem.


Foreman Jr., Tom. "3 North Carolina police officers fired over racist rants". Associated Press. 24 June 2020. 24 June 2020.

The Onion. "Cop Explains How It Feels To Live Every Day In Fear Someone Might Record You Brutalizing A Civilian". YouTube. 25 August 2017. 24 June 2020.
So, to spare you the click, when Kenzo Shibata↱ asks, "Is that Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara with a Qanon sign?" the answer is, Yes, yes, it is.

I don't think the Reveal report from Carless and Corey covered that one.


@KenzoShibata. "Is that Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara with a Qanon sign?" Twitter. 24 June 2020. 25 June 2020.
I love this angle.

Imagine getting on Joe's Airline and then seeing an ad in the in flight magazine - "at Joe's Airline, only .06% of our pilots use their airplanes for suicide weapons on any given month! 99.94% of you will get there just fine."

Factor in losing .06% of your fleet every month due to suicidal pilots and estimate time to bankruptcy?
Factor in losing .06% of your fleet every month due to suicidal pilots and estimate time to bankruptcy?

2 months and everyone stops flying because of the unacceptably high risks. Do you agree that every cop with a Facebook account supporting white supremacists should be sent looking for a new job, or do you have yet another excuse to ignore them?
Factor in losing .06% of your fleet every month due to suicidal pilots and estimate time to bankruptcy?
Only one thing to do then - make it a state run organization and give airlines "qualified immunity" so that no one can sue them! Then no problems with bankruptcy.
not exactly a representative sampling
statistically insignificant?
It only takes one law enforcement officer in each county/town/city to be a bigot to make the lives of minorities a living hell.

Consider that there are around 800,000 law enforcement officers in the US. That is probably a conservative estimate.

Now I want you to try to argue that the number of terrorists/spreading terrorist propaganda is statistically insignificant.. Because I hate to break it to you, but white supremacism is terrorism..

I mean, there's a point where we should simply laugh at how far you are willing to go to excuse racism, bigotry and right wing nutbaggery.. I think we are actually well past that point. Prime example:

Factor in losing .06% of your fleet every month due to suicidal pilots and estimate time to bankruptcy?
American Airlines has around 870 planes in its fleet.

Now consider how many planes would be lost per month if they had to factor .06% of the fleet per month due to suicidal pilots..

Personally, I'd stop flying.

As would anyone with even half a brain.
There is some irony about the story, these days:


The message by Richard Crites, a sheriff's deputy in Missouri, starts off like so many political posts on Facebook. Then there's the kicker:


(Carless and Corey↱)

That is, he means Keith Ellison, now Attorney General of Minnesota, overseeing the prosecution of George Floyd's killers.

In New Jersey, prison guard Joseph Bonadio posted repeated insults about the Prophet Muhammad and shared memes of roasting pigs with the message "Happy Ramadan." In Georgia, retired cop Claude Stevens Jr. railed against Muslims for months, posting conspiracy theories and Islamophobic memes.

They are among dozens of current and former American law enforcement officers whom Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting identified as members of Facebook groups dedicated to Islamophobia. With names such as "Veterans Against islamic Filth," "PURGE WORLDWIDE (The Cure for the Islamic disease in your country)" and "Americans Against Mosques," these groups serve as private forums to share bigoted messages about Muslims, and they have proven attractive for cops.

The third part of a series from Reveal looks at law enforcers and Islamophobia: "While officers shared slur-filled jokes about African Americans, Latinos and the LGBTQ community behind the walls of closed groups, anti-Muslim comments often were posted on public pages for all to see."

It seems an obvious point: "The problem with law enforcement officials engaging in this type of behavior," explained attorney Madihha Ahussein, "is that it's probably influencing the way in which they police in their communities". Carless and Corey explain:

The findings come as hate crimes against American Muslims continue at historically high levels. Muslim places of worship across the country have been set on fire and had their windows broken. Islamophobes have left slabs of bacon and scrawled graffiti on the doorsteps of mosques. Muslims have been shot, stabbed and had their religious garments ripped off. They've been shouted at, kicked, threatened and spit on.

Islamic centers and places of worship across the country also have boosted security since the horrific attacks against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, often asking local cops to stand guard during services.

Muslim Americans long have been the targets of discriminatory policing, most notably in New York City in the years after the 9/11 attacks. In 2018, the New York Police Department settled the last of three major lawsuits in which it was accused of spying on the local Muslim community for more than a decade, infiltrating mosques and creating a team of informants with the help of the CIA.

We notified nearly 150 departments about their officers' behavior on Facebook and membership in extremist groups. Some departments launched immediate investigations, and one detective in Houston was fired for posting racist memes about African Americans, in violation of department policy.

However, other departments were unbothered by their officers' social media activity. Some police leaders were angry that we even asked them about it.

Not a single department has said it disciplined an officer for Islamophobic posts or membership in an anti-Islam group.

Crites, a deputy for the Lawrence County Sheriff's office, posted the "raghead" comment among others in an anti-Obama group, also repeating, "Stop Obama stop the Muslims". Sheriff Brad DeLay responded to Reveal that, he was, "looking at disciplinary records now, and there aren't any complaints".

Joseph Bonadio, the senior corrections officer from New Jersey, belonged to a group called "Infidel Brotherhood Worldwide", which is an important point, but he didn't actually post in the group. Rather, he posted his insults against Islam and Muhammad openly on his wall. According to Reveal, he also disparaged LGBTQ and Michelle Obama, and "questioned whether white Americans should be blamed for bringing slavery to the country". The New Jersey Department of Corrections is investigating.

Islamophobic groups often use the word "infidel" as a dog whistle to attract people with similar views on Islam. Facebook is full of "infidel" groups, including "Any islamist insults infidels, I will put him under my feet," "The Infidel Den—Anti Islam Coalition" and "Infidel Elite—Against Islam, by the Pen and/or Sword," all of which count law enforcement officers as members.

Inside these groups, members often traffic in disproven theories that Muslims are invading the United States and plan to impose Sharia law and that this "Muslimification" already has happened across much of Europe.

Often, though, members just express their disgust with a religion practiced by about a quarter of the world's population.

"The rabies that is islam being passed down from deluded parent to deluded and brainwashed child," reads a typical civilian comment in "Infidel Brotherhood Worldwide."

And while "many working police officers were careful to hide their identities on Facebook", "retired law enforcement officers were far more brazen".

Like the retired cop from Georgia, in groups like, "Death to Islam Undercover", and, "Rage against the veil".

Stevens' personal Facebook page was awash with anti-Islamic memes, and he's actively commented in at least two of the closed groups. For example, he wrote under a video of Islamic immigrants in Germany, "The Prophet Muhammad eat's (sic) dog shit and is a follower of Satan/Allah" in March 2017.

When reached for comment, Stevens initially was defensive of his views. He called Islam "evil" and said America needs to be extremely wary of Muslim immigrants, who he claims seek to impose Sharia law in a Christian nation. However, he claimed that as a police officer, he always treated people fairly, no matter what their religion.

Asked how he could treat all people equally while at the same time posting about how Muslims are "filthy" and "animals," he paused and said: "I would have to concede to you that I probably have to back off on my words and look at it differently."

Like the genocidal cops↑ from North Carolina, recently fired, who did not deny their words, but made sure to remind that they weren't racist, of course Stevens, the retired Waynesboro cop who spends his retirement childishly insulting Muslims says he always treated people fairly; he wouldn't necessarily know if he didn't.

Megan Squire, a computer science professor … said the social media platform acts only on reports of hateful speech, rather than proactively searching for content that violates policy. And even when groups and content are reported, Squire said, Facebook traditionally has been more accepting of "politicized hate" against Islam—that is, groups claiming to protest not Islam itself, but "radical Islam" or "creeping Sharia law." Inside these groups, we found, slurs and hateful comments most often were directed at all Muslims in a blanket fashion ....

.... In a year of studying extremist groups on Facebook, we noticed how groups have adapted to content moderation practices on the platform. Openly racist groups such as those connected to the Ku Klux Klan don't last very long on the site. The racist groups that survive have adopted the coded language typical of the alt-right movement or disguised themselves as Confederate history groups.

By contrast, Islamophobic groups are transparent in their intentions and even in their names. While in recent months Facebook has removed groups tied to white nationalist organizations such as the Proud Boys—like the group "Proud Boys Southern Chapter"—the social network continues to host groups that are openly hostile to Muslims, such as "DEATH TO ISLAM UNDERCOVER." Every day, users post hateful content in these groups, often pledging violence against American Muslims.

Facebook denies treating anti-Muslim hate, in whatever guise, differently from other forms of hate speech.

A lot of this rhetoric and behavior is familiar. Perhaps the idea of "coded language" seems nearly juvenile, except it is commonplace. The idea of rabid anti-Islamic hatred disguised as two-bit politicking is hardly new, and, really, it's only a community's general sympathies that might make this somehow, two decades in, seem new. Carless and Corey close their article with a juxtaposition:

The majority of U.S. hate crimes motivated by religious bias are anti-Semitic, and Reveal's investigation found plenty of anti-Semitic activity in private groups. But the public nature of the Islamophobic activity on the platform resonates with Squire's observation from years of monitoring Facebook: that anti-Muslim hate speech is "the last accepted form of bigotry in America."

And while that last is not necessarily true°, it makes its point. It's likely a Facebook group named, "Veterans Against Christian Filth", or "Purge Worldwide (The Cure for the Catholic disease in your country)", or even, "Americans Against Synagogues", would not last as long as the groups opposing "Islamic Filth", the "Islamic disease", and "Mosques".

Meanwhile, they say they're not bigots, and it doesn't affect their work, and of course we don't believe them any more than we do the cheap hatemongers in our own proximity. And as protests continue across the United States, we might encounter reminders that it's #NotAllCops, but it's not just this or that officer whose judgment is subject to such doubts. In the end, an environment that allows such behavior to sustain, even flourish and propagate, brings the corrosion of doubt to every badge therein.
Notes on #16↑ above

° e.g., David Futrelle↱ notes of the latest anti-hate campaign at Reddit, "there's one important word missing from the Open Letter: misogyny".​

Carless, Will and Michael Corey. "American cops have openly engaged in Islamophobia on Facebook, with no penalties". Reveal. 27 June 2019. 26 June 2020.

Futrelle, David. "In the fight against Reddit bigotry, don't forget about misogyny". We Hunted The Mammoth. 25 June 2020. 26 June 2020.

See Also:

—————. "The American militia movement, a breeding ground for hate, is pulling in cops on Facebook". Reveal. 24 June 2019. 26 June 2020.

—————. "To protect and slur". Reveal. 14 June 2019. 26 June 2020.
Personally, ... .

I feel that racism, sexism, bigotry, clanism, tribalism, etc. are manifestations of lazy and/or impaired minds.

that being said
If a man or woman does his or her job, then what he or she does on their own time is beyond your/our purview/control------------------unless you would make slaves of them.
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The Oath Keepers and Three Percenters both say they're the last line of defense against a new world order seeking to enslave everyday Americans. They promote the conspiracy theory that the federal government is controlled by a mysterious elitist cabal, which plans to take away Americans' guns, overthrow local governments and install martial law over citizens, including setting up concentration camps to kill dissenters.
Defund the police and use the money for mental health and other social programs...

Plus it would save money by helping people stay out of jail. :)
that being said
If a man or woman does his or her job, then what he or she does on their own time is beyond your/our purview/control------------------unless you would make slaves of them.

In the case of police, promoting and endorsing hate crimes on one's own time violates the terms and conditions that come (or at least should come) with the job. No need to enslave any po' white bigot folks, just fire them and hire people who know how to not conduct themselves like brain damaged apes.