The police chief of El Paso – a black man – has labeled Black Lives Matter a “radical hate group.”
Chief Greg Allen was at a news conference Friday where leaders in the El Paso area were expressing solidarity with their brothers in Dallas.
They were also trying to appeal for peace from groups – like Black Lives Matter – who might feel marginalized by the spate of high-profile police shootings.
Chief Allen was present, but didn’t make a statement. Perhaps it’s because he didn’t quite agree with the message. After the press conference, he gave an interview to the El Paso Times.
“Black Lives Matter, as far as I am concerned, is a radical hate group,” Allen said. “And for that purpose alone, I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group. The consequences of what we saw in Dallas is due to their efforts.”
Allen is the first black police chief in El Paso’s history, according to El Paso Times archives.
Allen has led the city’s 1,100 police force since 2007. During his tenure, the city has been consistently rated as one of the country’s safest. He has a reputation for speaking his mind. In 2011, he said that political correctness was “poisoning the world.”
When informed of Allen’s remarks, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles disagreed. He said the actions of Dallas shooter Micah Johnson cannot simply be pinned on the broader Black Lives Matter movement, even though Johnson said he hated white people and wanted to kill police as form of revenge for the shooting of black men.
Black Lives Matter is a radical group? That is not my belief,” Wiles said, according to the El Paso Times. “I certainly understand that there are incidents occurring throughout the country that are bringing attention to things that are important to communities all across this nation and I think we have to, and what has worked well, is that we have to sit down and communicate about our problems. Now whether that affected this, I don’t know … I think unfortunately there are evil people who will do terrible things and clearly this person (the Dallas gunman) was an evil person. What was in his heart and mind, I don’t know and I really don’t care.”
In a statement, Texas State Sen. Jose Rodriguez also disagreed with the outspoken chief:
“Let’s be clear. Black Lives Matter did not shoot at police in Dallas last night; individuals with guns did that,” he said. “Black Lives Matter also did not invent the killing of two men in Falcon Heights and Baton Rouge, in what appears to be law enforcement execution at worst, and tragic incompetence at best … We grant police the right to make life and death decisions, but not without question or with impunity. There is much evidence that too often, this government-sanctioned violence is exercised too quickly and easily, especially against minorities.”