Know your enemy: Hate groups' threat to officer safety

Some estimates indicate that at least 100 new hate-based militia groups have sprung up since 2008


In the part one of this article, I talked about militias and the dangers they pose. Here I will look specifically at different hate groups and give hints that might help officers when dealing with these individuals out on the street. So, in no particular order, here is the list:

Posse Comitatus
This group does not believe in the authority of federal government. The only law enforcement official they recognize as legitimate is the county sheriff, because they say the sheriff is elected by the people.

They also do not believe in the federal government’s right to tax and to establish certain rules. They frequently will not have a driver’s license. As a matter of fact, these are the individuals that an officer will most likely pull over for having a home-made license plate. What makes them so dangerous is that they also do not believe in any firearms regulations and will routinely carry firearms in their vehicles. They are often survivalists who have practiced with their firearms on a regular basis.

White Nationalists
This group espouses the greatness of white America. They look down on any nationality not white. They can attract members from the Klu Klux Klan and other organizations who share the white supremacist philosophy. This group is not inherently dangerous on its own — rather, it is dangerous because of the different individuals from other groups that it attracts.

Christian Identity Movement
This is a group with a strange philosophy. It is anti-Jewish and racist. The most conservative of religions are nothing compared to this group. It has been in decline lately but, with members scattered everywhere, there is always the possibility that an officer can come across and believer.

Klu Klux Klan
Arguably the oldest of the racist hate groups. This group opposes Jews, blacks, immigrants, homosexuals, and anyone else who doesn’t meet their “standard.” The Klan appears to be enjoying a rebirth of sorts with the election of Obama. Not notably violent toward police, they have the potential to turn violent if they feel their freedoms are endangered. Some tip-offs that you are about to pull over a Klansman could be what is on his bumper. Some passwords that you would see on their bumper stickers are:

• AKIA — A Klansman I AM
• AYAK — Are You A Klansman
• CA BARK — Constantly Applied By All Real Klansman
• CLASP — Clannish Loyalty A Sacred Principle
• KIGY — Klansman I Greet You

Black Separatist
The most notable of these is The Nation of Islam. This group hates Jews, Catholics, and homosexuals. They oppose interracial marriage and, in the past, have preached rhetoric of hate and violence. The new leadership has tried to tone this rhetoric down but officers should be aware of this group and the fact that they could become violent if they perceived the end might justify the means.

Neo-Nazi
This group hates Jews, Blacks, immigrants and any other nationality they consider racially impure. They revere Adolf Hitler and the Nazi philosophy. Some groups are just general hate groups and some preach the formation of a Fascist state based on Nazi beliefs. One of their founders, William Pierce, was the author of The Turner Diaries, a book that may have been the blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing.

Skinheads
Probably the most violent of all hate groups, they hate anyone who is not white and have taken to recruiting young people into their “movement” by a variety of means, most notably rock music. They are somewhat easily identifiable as they have the shaved heads, wear combat boots, and show a variety of tattoos and other parphenalia that identify them as members of the Skinheads. Some tattoos and slogans that would warn an officer that they are in the presence of skinheads are as follows:

• Doc Marten boots and Fred Perry sports shirts
• Boots with red laces indicates the wearer has shed blood for the cause
• White laces identify the wearer as a believer in “white power”
• A spider web tattoo (usually on the elbow) means the wearer has committed murder
• 14/88 — refers to the fourteen words spoken by a deceased leader, David Lane, who stated, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” while the letter H is the eighth letter of the alphabet; therefore 88 means HH or “Heil Hitler”
• RAHOWA — Stands for “racial holy war”
• ZOG — Stands for “Zionist Occupation Government”

The above list is only a partial listing of hate groups. There are many others and some estimates indicate that since 2008, at least 100 new hate-based militia groups have sprung up. This is a dangerous trend for any officer. With this in mind I would say to all officers that the time to learn more about these groups in now at hand and. The knowledge you obtain could save your life.

Stay safe.

About the author

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Jim Guffey began his Law Enforcement career in 1977 with the Pennsylvania Capitol Police. In 1980 was hired by the Ross Township Police Department. He remained there until January 1, 2002. During that time he worked as a plain-clothes detective, on the traffic division, and was promoted on 1996 to Lieutenant. He remained the Administrative Lieutenant until his retirement. Not satisfied with retirement, he became the Chief of Police in Blairsville Borough in August 2003 and remained there until July 2004.

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