Local news channels in Ferguson, Missouri, are reporting they have received word from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that members of the so-called New Black Panther Party are inciting violence in and around the St. Louis suburb.
Ferguson has been the scene of violent protests since police shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last weekend. Brown, a black youth, was unarmed and had his hands raised at the time of the shooting witnesses claimed, according to KFOR.
Local authorities dispute those claims and allege Brown “physically assaulted” at least one officer and tried to take the officer’s gun.
Local police, with the help of St. Louis authorities, have tried to maintain order in the predominantly black city as the protests against the shooting have grown more violent. Police reportedly shot another man Wednesday night after he allegedly pointed a handgun at an officer.
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Federal civil rights investigators and the FBI are conducting an independent investigation into Brown’s shooting.
KTVI reports it received an anonymous letter that contained an alert, claiming to be from the FBI. The alert said the National Chief of Staff of the New Black Panther Party, Chawn Kweli, was in Ferguson to respond to the shooting.
KTVI reporter Roche Madden later said through his Twitter account that he was able to confirm with the FBI that the alert did indeed come from the agency, according to The Examiner.
Kweli, it is reported, posted on his Facebook page, “This is the hour all the greats promised. If you die, die like a warrior. I’ll see you on the ground.”
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WTVR reports Kweli is posting updates from Ferguson under the tag “Live Battle Report.”
The New Black Panther Party was founded in 1989 and is not an official successor to the original Black Panther Party, according to the Huey P. Newton Foundation.
Newton was co-founder of the original party in 1966. Members of that party have insisted the New Black Panther Party is illegitimate and that they only “pretend to walk in the footsteps of the Party’s true heroes.” The original group has condemned the new party’s use of their name, claiming, “There is no new Black Panther Party.”