The FBI's creation of so-called "black identity extremists" has made its way to the courtroom, with the prosecution of a proud, black advocate of gun ownership.
In January 2018, a report published by Foreign Policy laid out the case of Rakem Balogun, born Christopher Daniels. The Dallas native was meticulously under surveillance by the FBI for two years before they raided his home and arrested him in December 2017. Items taken from his home included a Taurus Protector Poly 38 Special, a Norinco AK-style assault rifle and the book, Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams. Balogun was indicted on unlawful possession of a firearm, but the elements of his arrest point to a larger revelation.
Because of Balogun's second amendment teachings to African-Americans through the city's Huey P. Newton Gun Club, the father of one has been labeled a "Black Identity Extremist" by the department. Other reasons stemmed from his Facebook posts and an Info Wars' portrayal of Balogun. Friends of Balogun told Foreign Policy they were tracked down by the FBI and asked questions about their political ideologies due to what was seen in the alt-right platform's footage.
The video that sparked the FBI's interest in Balogun was a demonstration in March 2015 showing members of the gun club and Guerilla Mainfram, a group co-founded by Balogun that brings awareness to community service, positive health practices and the promotion of efficient weapons training. The footage showed some openly armed demonstrators saying, “oink oink, bang bang” and “the only good pig is a pig that’s dead.”
While Balogun hasn't made any threats to the police or anyone for or against his views, prosecutors claim he is a threat to society which brings us back to the B.I.E. label. “The [black identity extremist] classification has grown from a report on paper, to a national investigation of Black Lives Matter and and black gun ownership advocates,” Daniels’ brother, Yafeuh Balogun, told the outlet. “Rakem Balogun has been classified as B.I.E, [and] we must defend him.”
Prosecutors have charged Balogun for being in violation of his previous conviction, stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident in 2007, which specified that Daniels could not possess a firearm. Balogun explained the incident involving a former girlfriend to Foreign Policy and shared the pressure felt to plead guilty through a public defender after being traumatized in jail.
During his detention on December 15, 2017, little was brought up about the gun charge. FBI special agent Aaron Keighley shared that Balogun's Facebook profile “openly and publicly advocates violence toward law enforcement.” Footage from InfoWars was also showed to the judge. Keighley was also asked if Balogun made actual threats to a specific members of law enforcement with the answer being no. Still, Balogun has been given the label and remains in jail today.
The FBI report of B.I.E was released in October 2017, with broad definitions of black ideologies and included the definition of those who look to violence “in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society.” The report also claimed B.I.E. members look for "revenge" in response to police abuse. The New York Times reports the FBI listed Michael Johnson, who shot 11 Dallas police officers in July 2016, as an example of “B.I.E. ideology.”
On November 14, 2017, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) questioned U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his oversight hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Sessions appeared to be dumbfounded over the 12-page report, especially after Rep. Bass questioned the omission of "White Identity Extremist" reports to highlight white supremacists or the Ku Klux Klan (2:13 time mark).
“Well, I’d be interested to see the conclusions of that report,” Sessions said. “But I’m aware that there are groups that have an extraordinary commitment to their racial identity, and some have transformed themselves even into violent activists ... so—”
Ironically, Balogun posted a video on YouTube (above) right before his arrest. The topic was the focus of the B.I.E. label and how black people should be mindful of the organization's doings. "The next time you try to go to a protest or raise awareness, don't be surprised when Homeland Security pulls up," he said. "This is why they have these classifications. Just so they can be able to push this agenda."
Balogun's trial begins March 26, 2018. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.