- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2016

Dallas Police Chief David Brown had an idea Monday for protesters involved in the Black Lives Matter movement: Don’t just march — put in a job application.

“We’re hiring,” Chief Brown said at a press conference. “We’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

He made the comment amid growing frustration with the civil unrest leading to the Dallas demonstration Thursday in which five police officers were killed and seven injured by a sniper fueled by a desire to kill white cops in retaliation for the deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota last week.

The gunman, 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, was a follower of racially motivated extremist groups, prompting questions about whether the movement launched three years ago to address police violence against black men has inflamed race relations and triggered offshoots that have less in common with social justice than terrorism.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who is black, said Monday that the deadly protest in Dallas was “mission accomplished for Black Lives Matter, not an aberration.”

“The violence- and hate-filled messages pouring out of Black Lives Matter seek exactly this kind of bloody resolution, or revolution, though they cannot admit it in polite society,” Sheriff Clarke said in a Monday op-ed on Fox News. “Even as celebrities clamor over themselves to demonstrate their fealty to the hate group, they align themselves with one of the most destructive groups to the well-being and justice for black Americans that exist today.”

Another Monday op-ed, by columnist Todd Starnes, was headlined, “Hey, Black Lives Matter, stop terrorizing our cities.”

Larry Elder, a black conservative radio talk show host for Salem Communications based in Los Angeles, called the Black Lives Matter mantra a “lie,” saying data show that black shooting deaths by police are down.

“The Dallas shooting has resulted in a hit to the Black Lives Matter narrative, and so have the facts,” Mr. Elder said.

The movement’s rallying cry — that police are targeting black men — has been empirically challenged by researchers. A study by a Harvard economics professor released this month found that blacks are no more likely than whites to be shot by police, although nonwhites are more likely to experience physical confrontations with officers.

The paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, which examined thousands of incidents at 10 large police departments in California, Florida and Texas, concluded that police were no more likely to shoot nonwhites than whites after factoring in extenuating circumstances.

“On the most extreme use of force — officer-involved shootings — we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account,” Harvard economics professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. said in the abstract of the paper.

Mr. Fryer, who is black, told The New York Times that the finding of no racial discrimination in police shootings was “the most surprising of my career.”

The 63-page study, “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force,” appears to support research conducted at Washington State University showing that officers in simulation tests are actually less likely to shoot at blacks than whites.

Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter leaders have denounced the bloodshed in Dallas. In a post shortly after the massacre, the organization said in a post that “[b]lack activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it.”

“Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible,” said the post.

DeRay Mckesson, the movement’s best-known spokesman, said Monday that mounting criticism of the protests is being used to muffle calls for greater police accountability.

“It’s not a new tactic, and we know it’s not an honest tactic,” Mr. Mckesson told USA Today. “We should not have to protest. We’re in the street because police have killed people. We would love to go home, but we can’t go home. We are unwilling to go home.”

Still, critics say Black Lives Matter bears some responsibility for the rise of black hate groups. In the year after the movement surged in response to the August 2014 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the number of racially motivated extremist organizations grew from 113 to 180, an increase of 60 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Dallas gunman, a former Army reservist, had “liked” on Facebook groups including the New Black Panther Party, the Black Riders Liberation Party, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, and the African American Defense League, which, after the Dallas shootings, called for attacks on “everything in blue except the mail man,” as reported by Reuters.

Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, a Republican, said on social media this weekend: “Clearly the rhetoric of Black Lives Matter encouraged the sniper that shot Dallas police officers.”

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani called the group “inherently racist.”

Mr. Giuliani’s remarks prompted a rebuff Monday from Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who said, “That’s not the black community.

“That group, that element of Black Lives Matter, doesn’t speak for all of Black Lives Matter and does not speak for most folks in the black community, both middle class and poor, who know they are more likely to be pulled over than the Caucasian guy,” Mr. Biden told CNN.

Oren Segal, director of the Anti Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said the biggest threat may come not from those who join such organizations but those who are inspired by them.

“The most dangerous are those who don’t join anything, who get inspired by the militancy or hate, who get influenced by the rhetoric and act on their own,” Mr. Segal told The Associated Press.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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