Friday, July 08, 2016

Micah X. Johnson, Suspect in Dallas Police Killings, Identified With Black Liberation
The sniper who murdered five officers during a Black Lives Matter protest was a fan of anti-police brutality groups and a reservist who deployed to Afghanistan.

Micah Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas was identified by police as the sniper who shot 12 people during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas on Thursday night. Five officers are dead and six others are seriously wounded, in addition to one civilian.

According to his Facebook profile, Johnson identified as a black nationalist. Activists at Thursday’s night Black Lives Matter march, however, said that the shooter behind the deadliest day for American law enforcement since 9/11 was not part of their protest.

Dallas police chief David Brown said Johnson “expressed anger for Black Lives Matter” and told a hostage negotiator he “wanted to kill officers.” Three other suspects were taken into custody but Johnson is believed to have acted alone.

Johnson’s profile photo on Facebook shows him in a dashiki, holding a clenched fist in the air.

Johnson’s cover photos are a black liberation flag and a black power fist.

Johnson did not explicitly identify himself as a member of the Nation of Islam, a militant black Muslim group, but liked pages relating to Elijah Mohammed, the group’s deceased founder. Johnson also liked several militant and black separatist groups such as The New Black Panther Party and the African American Defense League.

The league posted on Facebook after Johnson’s massacre: “ATTACK EVERYTHING IN BLUE EXCEPT THE MAIL MAN, UNLESS HE IS CARRYING MORE THAN MAIL.”

Johnson also liked the Black Riders Liberation Party, which describes itself as a “new generation” of Black Panthers.

“We need recruits everywhere!” one of the group’s leaders posted on Thursday before the Dallas shooting. “Arm yourself or Harm yourself!”

The advertisement for the new group was accompanied by a photo of armed men.

A U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast that Johnson served as a private first class in the Army Reserve and deployed to Afghanistan in November 2013 as an engineer before returning in July 2014.

Johnson's sister, Nicole, spoke out on Facebook after her brother was identified.

"The news will say what they think but those that knew him know this wasn’t like him. Only close family can call me. This is the biggest loss we’ve had," she wrote.

Johnson's anti-cop brutality sentiment was shared by his sister on Facebook. Hours before the protest where her brother would kill, she posted a Tupac quote bashing cops.

On July 6 she posted an ominous message, hinting at police being harmed.

Johnson formerly attended the “self-defense and personal protection” gym Academy of Combat Warrior Arts in Richardson and Fort Worth, Texas, gym owner and CEO Justin Everman told The Daily Beast. The gym’s Twitter account says it provides “reality based training for today’s Urban environment.”

Along with more traditional martial arts classes, the gym also teaches seminars in “Urban Everyday Carry and Improvised Weapons” and “Weapons Defense.” Everman said many of the gym’s members are police officers and stressed that “we have completely no affiliation with him whatsoever.”

“It’s disgusting, what he did,” he said. “I’m disgusted.”

— Additional reporting by Kate Briquelet

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