DALLAS (Christian Examiner) – The gunman who killed five police officers and wounded nine others identified himself as a "Black Nationalist" and may have been enchanted with the fiery rhetoric of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
According to multiple reports from the media and police, Micah Xavier Johnson had "liked" the Nation of Islam, the New Black Panther Party, the African American Defense League (AADL), the Black Riders Liberation Party and a host of other Black Nationalist groups on his now deleted Facebook page.
The Nation of Islam is an African American religious movment tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
Johnson was not, however, actually an official member of any of the groups, contrary to some reports.
The New Black Panther Party issued a statement claiming the media is "grabbing for straws, reaching for any kind of connection it could produce to make a fictitious connection to the New Black Panther Party, or other black groups whose primary mission is to advocate for Black Power."
"For the record, a simple like by Mr. Johnson or anyone else on any like page via a social media website, does not represent membership, affiliation, or endorsement. It simply is what it is ... a like on the page," the statement said.
The Black Riders and AADL have remained silent on the events in Dallas, as has the Nation of Islam Muhammad Mosque Number 48 in South Dallas and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a militant organization headed by Babu Omowale, who is the "minister of defense" for the New Black Panther Party.
Omowale, however, said he had seen Johnson at some black "community events."
Omowale told Reuters his group did not support or condone what Johnson did – in spite of the fact that members of the New Black Panthers have called in the past for police officers to be killed – but he said he understood it.
"We can understand how the conditions of America today pushed that man to respond how he did. Every man and woman has his breaking point, and we just think Micah got to his breaking point before anyone else," Omowale said.
That Johnson wanted to kill white police officers is without question. All of the officers killed in the shooting rampage in Dallas July 7 were white or Hispanic.
During a press conference after the shooting, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Johnson told officers attempting to negotiate with him after he was cornered in a parking garage that he had acted alone and was not affiliated with any other group.
"The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. The suspect said he was upset about recent police shootings. The suspect stated he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers," Brown said.
Johnson's sister, Nicole, also spewed the same anti-white and anti-police rhetoric on her Facebook page. She said the day before the attack in Dallas that police officers "need to get a taste of the life we now fear."
She was presumably speaking about the recent deaths of several black men – Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota – at the hands of police. Sterling was shot in a scuffle with two police officers outside of a convenient store. Castile was shot during a traffic stop.
Both incidents are under investigation.
NATION OF ISLAM'S LOUIS FARRAKHAN
Hours before Johnson took to the streets and began firing on officers providing security for the Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Louis Farrakhan reposted a clip from a 2015 video to his Twitter page.
In the clip, Farrakhan railed, "There is no freedom without the shedding of blood. I'm sorry to have to say that. Non-violence is not going to bring the land back to us."
He said if black people could unify, "our unity will keep us from having to fire a shot, but if we are not united the only way we are going to get what belongs to us is to make up our minds either to live to get it or die trying to get it."
"When you are willing and not afraid anymore to pay the price for freedom – don't let this white man tell you that violence is wrong. Every d--- thing he got, he got it by being violent – killing people, raping and robbing and murdering. He's doing it as we speak and then he has the nerve to come and tell us that violence and hatred won't get it. Don't buy that. He's worthy to be hated. Worthy, because of the evil that he does," Farrakhan said in the video.
NOTE: STORY continues below the full Farrakhan video viewed here.
Farrakhan, who last year asked for "10,000 fearless" to "stalk" and "kill" whites, has also not publicly denounced the violence in Dallas or condemned the views held by Johnson.
If Brown would have been officially aligned with any of the Black Power groups he showed an affinity for on Facebook, he would have presumably been the first member of one of the groups to have acted on their anti-white, anti-police rhetoric in such a violent fashion.
According to Heidi Beirich, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence analysis operation, the groups he followed on social media are "not associated with violence on a regular basis the way skinheads or neo-Nazis are now."
Beirich said, however, that the number of chapters of the many "black separatist" groups increased from 113 to 180 in a one year period (from 2014-2015).
Johnson reportedly wrote the initials "BR" on the wall in his own blood just before he was killed. It is assumed he was writing "BRG," for "Black, Red and Green," the colors depicted on the uniform patches of Black Power organizations like the New Black Panther Party.