When surveillance increases, Black people get disproportionately targeted and harmed—not matter how good the intention. In the weeks and months after Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, 21-year-old Tia Pugh’s single act amid otherwise nonconfrontational protests captivated the community — and the police, who tracked her via Facebook to her apartment. Two days after the protest, on June 2, 2020, they hauled her, handcuffed, in front of press cameras. Pugh, a Black woman who’d never been arrested before, was born in Mobile but grew up in Minnesota.“

In closing arguments at Pugh’s trial, federal prosecutors made it clear that they viewed Pugh as a violent actor. But it’s not clear whether they saw her as a domestic violent extremist, in part because the Justice Department hasn’t provided clarity on what its newly broad view of domestic violent extremism includes.

Internal FBI documents from 2019 indicated that the bureau was tracking what it labels “Racially Motivated Extremism,” which generally includes “White Racially Motivated Extremism” and “Black Racially Motivated Extremism” — the latter including attacks against law enforcement due to “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans.” MediaJustice’s Campaign Strategies Director Myaisha Hayes explains in The Intercept.

The designation was an updated version of an earlier one, “Black Identity Extremist,” which had been used since at least 2015, according to Myaisha Hayes, campaign strategies director at MediaJustice.

Myaisha Hayes via The Intercept


See All