Members Only | June 2, 2022 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Who polices the police?

A former FBI agent could be complicit in Payton Gendron’s murder spree. That shows that fighting white supremacy is a top priority.

He got mad at a British reporter for asking a hard question.
He got mad at a British reporter for asking a hard question.

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As I write from the UK, and as I read about the heartbreaking details of yet another mass murder, trying to grasp the pain that parents who have lost their babies must be feeling, I look at my own kids. 

Tonight, I hugged them extra tight. 

Seeing the likes of Ted Cruz, in the face of another massacre, brazenly repeat the insane hyperbole that the accessibility of semiautomatic rifles is not at the root of it all is sickening and incomprehensible. 

How many more reports does the FBI need to produce about the danger of white supremacists within its own ranks before meaningful action is taken?

Cruz for one, when questioned about the fact that mass school shootings seem only to happen in the US, accused a British journalist of having a “political” agenda. This Orwellian selfish doublespeak has come to contaminate so much of our political discourse.

But there’s another elephant in the room. 

What are police for?
The 19 kids and two teachers shot dead in Uvalde were failed by local law enforcement, including customs and border officials. 

They took too long to enter the building, a failing that has now been acknowledged by officials. Law enforcement prevented parents from rescuing their kids. They prevented them – while doing nothing.

One parent, Angeli Rose Gomez, defied officers. She entered the school after initially being handcuffed and rescued her kids herself. 

Other reports from the scene depict parents begging police to storm the building to save their children. Some parents were threatened with arrest and tasers for trying to do what police wouldn’t. 

All of this begs an important question: What are police for?

And the FBI?
When we talk about Uvalde, we have to talk about the role of law enforcement regarding the tragic Buffalo shooting. Because highly questionable “law enforcement” is at the heart of all of this. 

Payton Gendron, a white supremacist, was yet another unemployed teen who managed to obtain a semiautomatic rifle with ease. 

He targeted a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, because he wanted to kill Black people. He accomplished his goal.

While in the aftermath, the usual excuses and criticism of white vigilantism began circulating in the media, there’s an aspect to Buffalo that needs more attention. In fact, it demands in.

A former FBI agent allegedly had contact with Gendron minutes before he attacked. It’s believed the former agent, who is known online as “Sandman,” had prior knowledge of Gendron’s attack plan.

Investigators say “Sandman” was part of a rightwing clique that regularly communicated with Gendron online, reveling in their shared hatred of Blacks, Jews and nonwhite people. 

Some clique members were invited to view Gendron’s plans. If they had prior knowledge, investigators say that none called it in. 

On the contrary, “Sandman,” who Gendron praised in his online diaries, is alleged by those with knowledge of the case to have offered Gendron advice about semiautomatic rifles and manufactures.

The FBI is trying to figure out “Sandman”’s identity. Gendron quoted him. On May 2, Gendron allegedly quoted “Sandman” in a post:

When the time finally comes to deal decisively with a whole host of society’s problems, and not go to prison for it, you’ll know. Just be ready. You have spent your entire life, from the day you were born, right up to this very moment, reading this sentence, coming to where you are right now.

Look around you. Are you content with where you are right now? Are you where you want to be? If so, continue to march. If not, what are you going to do? What’s your plan? Get and keep your mind, body and spirit right. Pray. Lift. Run. Read. Shoot. And teach your kids to do those things.

The FBI is investigating if those in communication with Gendron can be charged as accomplices. It’s unclear as to how many accepted Gendron’s invitation to view the details of his planned shooting, nor how many watched the livestream of Gendron’s murder spree.

No surprises
Some might be startled that a former FBI agent might have been complicit in Payton Gendron’s attack on a Black neighborhood.

Attorney Terrence M. Connors, who is representing several families of the slain in Buffalo, was not shocked. Neither am I. 

The FBI’s fingerprints are on plans by a home-grown terrorist group to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. I’d need to write a thesis to list similar cases with corrupt cops wedged in the middle.

How many more reports does the FBI need to produce about the danger of white supremacists within its own ranks before meaningful action is taken? White supremacy is America’s greatest threat.

There is no more time for thoughts and prayers, and whataboutery. There’s no more evidence needed to understand that the scourge of white supremacy is tearing the fabric of American society apart. 

Richard Sudan covers human rights and American foreign affairs for the Editorial Board. Based in London, his reporting has appeared in The Guardian, Independent and others. Find him @richardsudan.

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