EDITORIAL: Black extremist cop?

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This week, the Greensboro Police Department suspended Lt. Stacy Morton pending an investigation into his participation in a nationalist hate group.

This comes as no surprise to people who pay attention. The connection between law enforcement and white-supremacist groups is well documented: The FBI released a report on the correlation in 2006, finding, among other things, that white-supremacist groups encourage members to don “ghost skins” and try to find jobs as cops.

Except Lt. Morton is black. And the hate group with which he is accused of associating is the Black Hebrew Israelite Movement, which marched in the GHOE parade this year — that’s where Morton’s accuser says he or she spotted him.

The Black Hebrew Israelite movement contends that black people are the true Hebrews, scattered across Africa and then these Lost Tribes of Israel were systematically hunted down and sold back into slavery. In decades past, the BHI prophesied that Black Jesus would return in the year 2000 to “enslave and destroy the white race,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has clocked them as an extremist hate group due to their antisemitic thesis and “white devil” rhetoric.

But let’s keep things real: An African-American cop who is waiting for Black Jesus is hardly the type of hate-group infiltration the FBI was talking about.

Sure, Morton might have been able to treat white people unfairly in the course of his duties with the GPD. But it’s a pretty safe bet to say that overall, black people bear the brunt of unequal enforcement by a significant margin — the New York Times reported on it back in October 2015. 

That’s not to say Morton’s activities shouldn’t be investigated. And that’s what’s happening now.

But the saga of Lt. Morton and the Black Hebrew Israelites should be regarded for the man-bites-dog story that it is, an anomaly and not an indicator of a larger iceberg lurking beneath the waves.

Because in the quest to rid law enforcement of dangerous racist ideologues, black supremacists barely move the needle.

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