FBI's Bust Of Black Open Carry Advocate Predicated On An InfoWars Video Ends In Dismissed Indictment
from the making-its-terrorism-investigations-look-solidly-grounded dept
The FBI’s throwback to its Martin Luther King Jr.-watching heyday has reached the first stop on its way to its eventual nadir. Deciding backlash against violence perpetrated by law enforcement officers had resulted in too many frightening African Americans organizing, the agency decided to place “Black Identity Extremists” under surveillance, claiming this made-up group would “likely” engage in violence against police officers.
So far, the agency has yet to secure a prosecution under this theory of extreme blackness. But it has managed to severely disrupt the life of at least one black male.
Rakem Balogun thought he was dreaming when armed agents in tactical gear stormed his apartment. Startled awake by a large crash and officers screaming commands, he soon realized his nightmare was real, and he and his 15-year-old son were forced outside of their Dallas home, wearing only underwear.
Handcuffed and shaking in the cold wind, Balogun thought a misunderstanding must have led the FBI to his door on 12 December 2017. The father of three said he was shocked to later learn that agents investigating “domestic terrorism” had been monitoring him for years and were arresting him that day in part because of his Facebook posts criticizing police.
“Domestic terrorism” is one of the narratives the FBI trotted out during this abortive investigation and prosecution. The facts leading to Balogun’s arrest are almost literally unbelievable. His surveillance is believed to be part of the FBI’s recent “Black Identity Extremists” focus. Balogun (born Christopher Daniels) is a black open-carry advocate residing in Texas, where this practice is legal. He attended a protest in Austin, Texas — one featuring black open carry advocates like himself. Apparently, the FBI decided it needed to play to edges of reality to build a case against the activist.
Daniels, a founding member of both Guerilla Mainframe and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, groups that promote weapons training, fitness, and community service among African Americans, first came under FBI scrutiny in 2015 when he appeared in videos participating in an open-carry rally against police brutality. Footage of the demonstration aired by the right-wing conspiracy website InfoWars showed demonstrators chanting “oink oink bang bang” and “the only good pig is a pig that’s dead.”
The InfoWars video drew the FBI’s attention to Daniels’ social media accounts, according to court documents, where he published what they deemed to be comments advocating for “violence toward law enforcement.”
The FBI admitted the comments it reviewed did not actually advocate for violence against police officers, nor did they contain threats from Daniels himself. But what was the agent supposed to do? Stop looking for reasons to fulfill the FBI’s “BIE” fantasy?
Nope, instead the FBI raided Balogun’s house to arrest him for possession of a handgun, supposedly because it violated restrictions placed on Balogun following a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction in 2007. This bullshit charge doesn’t explain why it took the FBI two years from the viewing of the video (a goddamn InfoWars video, at that) to make its move.
The court tossed the indictment — two years and one InfoWars video in the making — because the alleged criminal act wasn’t actually a real criminal act.
The indictment was dismissed May 1, when a district court in Texas determined “domestic assault” as codified by Tennessee law does not fit the federal definition of domestic violence that would prohibit him from owning a firearm. Daniels was ultimately released from custody two days later.
But that was two days after Daniels spent six months in jail for a charge the FBI offered up because it couldn’t find what it was really looking for: a “Black Identity Extremist” calling for violence against cops. The government couldn’t get what it wanted, but rather than call the investigation to a halt, it kept digging around in the federal and state rule books to find anything to use against Balogun. “Rule of law” is a joke — and so is every government official echoing this empty phrase as the FBI pursues bullshit investigations and handcrafts terrorism suspects for easy prosecutions.