NABJ Condemns Reported Extremist Activities Against Journalists Reported by the FBI
WASHINGTON (Feb. 26, 2020) – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is disheartened to learn, via a news report published today by The Arizona Republic, that the FBI arrested four “racially motivated violent extremists” from four states for delivering threats by mail to journalists and activists of color, as well as representatives of the Jewish community. Their actions are believed to be a part of the efforts of an online hate group or neo-Nazi extremist group.
NABJ confirmed via a statement released from the Department of Justice that Cameron Brandon Shea, 24, of Redmond, Washington; Kaleb Cole, 24, of Montgomery, Texas; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, 20, of Spring Hill, Florida; and Johnny Roman Garza, 20, of Queen Creek, Arizona, were taken into custody Tuesday or Wednesday and were charged with a single count of conspiracy to mail threatening communications and commit cyberstalking.
The issue hits close to home for NABJ as, according to The Republic, in January law enforcement observed Garza “in a car parked outside an apartment complex where a member of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists lived.”
Authorities say Garza and co-conspirators were attempting to spread fear and terror by delivering such items as posters to other journalists that included statements like “Your Actions Have Consequences” and “You have been visited by your local Nazis” with disturbing imagery and the name and address of the recipient.
“NABJ condemns any threats or extremist actions made against journalists of color and journalists of all races. No journalist should be placed in harm’s way for doing their job or because of their profession,” said NABJ President Dorothy Tucker. “We applaud the FBI in their efforts to bring these accused extremists to justice. NABJ encourages all members, fellow journalists and activists to take precautions and alert authorities immediately of suspicious activity or threats. If any journalists feel their work may result in threats or harmful activity from extremists or others, we recommend following the safety steps shared in the Security Guide published on the Committee to Protect Journalists website. Please contact authorities immediately if you are experiencing such issues.”
Tips from the Committee to Protect Journalists can be found here and include:
Alert authorities of any concerning activities.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Follow practical safety procedures such as varying travel routes, changing routines, and keeping home and office buildings locked and alarmed.
Be mindful of what you post on social media concerning your family, whereabouts, and location.
Consider the assistance of security experts.