Dallas police shooting: echoes of Isil tactics in black militant’s online ‘self radicalisation’


It sounds like a terrorist rallying cry from al-Qaeda or Isil: “Kill the pigs who kill our kids!”

Yet this call for the murder of police officers was the slogan chanted by Malik Shabazz, the then leader of the New Black Panther Party, at a protest 20 years ago.

Black extremist groups are nothing new in America. They rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as an alternative to the non-violent stance of  Martin Luther King Jr, but in recent years they have found a new, more powerful tool than mass rallies: social media and the internet.

Micah Johnson, the gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas, was a follower of several of America’s most violent black rights groups, but may never have attended any of their meetings or rallies.

A group calling itself the Black Power Political Organization claimed on its Facebook account that it was behind the attack, though there is no evidence Johnson had any connection to it.

Police are investigating whether he had become self-radicalised by reading material posted online by the likes of the New Black Panther Party, the African American Defense League, the Nation of Islam and Black Riders Liberation Party.

He had either “liked” or followed all of them on his Facebook page, but told police before he was killed in a stand-off that he was not affiliated to any groups.

The term “self-radicalisation” has become familiar through the growing catalogue of Islamist terrorist attacks the world over, and the tactics used by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and others bear clear similarities to the worst extremes of black separatist groups.

Johnson was, after all, doing exactly what these forums of boiling hatred have been telling their followers to do for years.