Investigative journalists have discovered hundreds of law enforcement officers around the country who are active in members-only Facebook groups that are based on racism, and hatred. A year-long investigation of private Facebook hate groups by REVEAL finds close to 400 current and retired law enforcement officers are members, including officers from small towns as well as big cities and NYPD. One guard at the Angola prison in Louisiana, Geoffery Crosby, was a member of 56 extremist groups, including 45 Confederate groups and one called “BAN THE NAACP.” A detective at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Houston, James “J.T.” Thomas, was a member of the closed Facebook group “The White Privilege Club.” Some present themselves publicly as being dedicated to benign historical discussion of the Confederacy, but are replete with racism inside. Some are openly Islamophobic and almost 150 of the officers we found are involved with violent anti-government groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.
Reveal News contacted many of the police departments of officers who belonged to racist Facebook groups. Some were fired, other departments opened investigations, some refused to discuss personnel matters and others declined to comment at all. In 2018, 26.7 percent of 1,165 people killed by police were black. Twenty-eight percent of the unarmed victims killed by police in 2018 were black. Nearly thirty-five percent (34.9) of the people who were unarmed, not attacking, but were still killed by police in 2018 were black.