Did A Georgia Sheriff Call #BlackLivesMatter 'Domestic Terrorists?'

| by Michael Allen
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Gwinnett County, Georgia, Sheriff Butch Conway may have called the #BlackLivesMatter movement “domestic terrorists with an agenda” today.

Conway sent a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

We’ve all heard the noisy voices blaming law enforcement officers themselves for these assassinations and it sickens me. To say that I’m angry would be an understatement.

I’m angry that the fringe groups who started the culture of police hatred have widened the racial divide in our country by alleging that officer involved shootings stem from racism.

Conway didn't say who the "fringe groups" were, but later referenced the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri:

I can think of no greater example that encompasses both of those concerns than the events that took place last August in Ferguson, Missouri. An officer who acted within policy to preserve his own life became the poster child for alleged police racism and suffered damaging, irreversible life-long consequences.

...Like many others, I didn’t want to wade into the firestorm that began in the aftermath of Ferguson. The widespread allegations of racism made it difficult to speak up, as allegations of racism often silence those who will normally speak. It’s not about race.

However, the Ferguson Commission released its report this week, which stated: "We have not moved beyond race. St. Louis does not have a proud history on this topic, and we are still suffering the consequences of decisions made by our predecessors,” notes St. Louis Public Radio.

The Guardian reported in June that U.S. police kill more people in a matter of days than some countries do in an entire year.

According to The Guardian's crowd-sourced project, The Counted, 823 Americans have been killed by police this year.

While Conway never mentioned the #BlackLivesMatter movement by name, he did state:

Law enforcement officers are being dehumanized. Those inciting riots and committing murders are simply criminals and do not represent the majority of Americans. They are domestic terrorists with an agenda. Their message is that police lives don’t matter, which sure sounds like a hate group to me ... I will do everything in my power to stop anyone intent on harming others, regardless of their skin color. All lives, and I repeat, ALL LIVES matter.

In response, Shaun King, one of the leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement tweeted, "The sheriff of one of the largest counties here in Atlanta just called #BlackLivesMatter a hate group and a terrorist organization..."

King also posted a statement that said: "The statement that Sheriff Conway just made is one of the most ignorant, uninformed, and inflammatory statements from a man of his stature in law enforcement that I have ever read," notes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

King added:

Currently, police in twenty states are being investigated for egregious acts of racism - including officers in San Francisco, Baton Rouge, Tampa, Miami Beach, Dayton, Alabama, Mississippi, and even right here in Georgia that have been caught via text message and email flat out calling African Americans n------, advocating lynchings, and more.

While the sheriff says we are leading hate groups, multiple police departments across the south have been found to have full fledged members of the KKK - yet we hear nothing about this from the law enforcement community.

Sources: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, St. Louis Public Radio, The Guardian, Twitter, The Counted / Photo Credit: Michael Rivera/Wikimedia