National Sheriffs’ Association Says Anti-government Radicals the Single Greatest Concern

Yahoo

The celebrating began before the coroner could collect the bodies of Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, the Las Vegas patrol officers ambushed and executed while eating at a pizzeria last month.

“The good news is, there are two less police in the world,” read an entry on the Facebook page for CopBlock.org.

The post was visible for less than a day, but it attracted at least 6,300 likes and comments by the time the page’s administrators removed it.

Jerad Miller — who along with his wife, Amanda, gunned down the Vegas police officers before dying during a shootout with police — was one of Cop Block’s 780,000-plus Facebook fans.

The decentralized advocacy group says it disavows violence while spreading a belief that “badges don’t grant extra rights.”

But the Millers, described by investigators as anti-government extremists, had a deadly animosity for authority.

“Bout time to start killing cops, eh?” Miller, 31, wrote in May when he shared a viral video of police brutality on Facebook. “Maybe if we can kill all these despotic goons they will turn on their masters and once again be public servants and we can end this madness.”

After a historic decline in the number of police officers fatally shot last year, 2014 has rebounded to previous levels. Beck and Soldo are among 28 U.S. officers shot and killed in the line of duty so far this year. The most recent death came Sunday, when rookie Jersey City, N.J., Officer Melvin Santiago was ambushed by a gunman who reportedly told people he was “going to be famous” for killing a cop.

Such shameless bravado — online and off — and an exploding right-wing movement are creating anxiety about attacks against police.

“There’s a deep concern that there has been a measurable increase in violence against police officers, especially with firearms,” said Rich Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations. The anti-police movement “seems to feed off each other online,” he said.

The FBI has increased warnings about possible threats to law enforcement, multiple police sources told Yahoo News. The bureau declined to confirm any change.

This follows a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report that included a warning about domestic extremists using the Internet to recruit members, share tactics and raise hate to an all-time high.

Rich Stanek, who chairs the National Sheriffs’ Association Homeland Security Committee, said he proudly protects constitutional rights, but he worries social networking gives radicals such as Miller a false sense of recognition.

“They can post, blog and do so freely and anonymously without any accountability whatsoever,” said Stanek, sheriff of Hennepin County in Minnesota.

Escalating danger by anti-government extremists dominated a four-hour discussion on homeland security at last month’s National Sheriffs’ Association conference, said Stanek, who commands an 800-member department in Minneapolis.

“That’s the single greatest concern that faces our deputies today,” Stanek said

Read More

Recent Posts