As protests over police brutality continue across the country, and the world-at-large, an unclassified government report from 2006 calling attention to the issue is making the rounds again. The report came from the FBI, which warned that white supremacist groups had long-infiltrated local police forces, as PBS reported in October 2016.
The FBI's report detailed the threat of extremists would become members of the police force so they could disrupt investigations against their fellow members while recruiting new members. While several passages were redacted, it reported that these extremists were using their authority to access "restricted areas vulnerable to sabotage" as well as identify elected officials or people who could be seen as "potential targets for violence." Some members, it cautioned, were much more subtle, referred to as "ghost skins," whose goal is to blend in and covertly advance their cause. It also cited several investigations that cited officers, and sometimes entire agencies, with ties to hate groups in states like Texas, Ohio and Illinois.
It was the arrest and subsequent killing of 46-year-old George Floyd on May 25, a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis, that ignited the current wave of protests. They've been calling for widespread police reforms, as well as accountability for officers who commit such acts. Since then, some have grown into riots, and it's been suspected that some of these violent acts could be attributed to white supremacist groups.
On May 28, President Donald Trump had referred to the protesters as "thugs" in a heated tweet, as well as claimed that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." The latter was a quote from Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, who defended his department's brutal tactics during the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s. Trump walked the comments back the following day, claiming they'd been misconstrued. "Frankly it means when there's looting, people get shot and they die," he told reporters.
At the same press conference, Trump also claimed that he was unaware of the racist history of Headley's quote, saying he didn't know about the saying's origin. "But I've heard it for a long time, as most people have," he continued. "And frankly, it means when there's looting, people get shot and they die." When speaking with Floyd's brother, Philonise, he called the killing "a terrible insult to police and to policemen." Philonise Floyd later told MSNBC the conversation with Trump was "so fast" and he was not given an opportunity to actually speak.