A prominent law enforcement training group is promoting a lengthy research document riddled with falsehoods and conspiracies that urges local police to treat Black Lives Matter activists as terrorists plotting a violent revolution, reports the Associated Press. The document from by the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association contains misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric that could incite officers against protesters and people of color, critics said. It alleges Black Lives Matter and antifa are “revolutionary movements whose aims are to overthrow the U.S. government” and claims they are planning “extreme violence.” Phillip Atiba Goff, a Yale University professor who is an expert on racial bias in policing, called the document dangerous, noting that the association is an important source of training materials for many small and midsize departments. “It’s stunning. It’s distressing in many ways. It’s untethered to reality,” said Goff, who heads the Center for Policing Equity. “I worry that it leads to people dying unnecessarily.”
The association, known as ILEETA, sent a link to the 176-page paper, “Understanding Antifa and Urban Guerrilla Warfare,” in an email news update to its thousands of members in October. The group’s director, Harvey Hedden, defended the document, which he called one member’s opinion and open for critique and debate. Hedden argued that fact-checking the paper or restricting its distribution would amount to censorship and that its publication allows for peer review by other trainers. An official with Color of Change, a racial justice organization, called on police departments to cut training ties with the association, saying it encourages a warrior-style mindset that creates conflict in communities. Among its many unsupported claims is that Black Lives Matter and antifa have “trained, dedicated snipers” stationed in certain cities, are fronts for Russia and China, and planned attacks before and after last month’s presidential election.