The FBI portrayed white supremacists as victims in reports written during an investigation of a leftwing organization.

The Guardian obtained a 46-page report detailing an investigation of antifascist organization By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). The FBI launched the investigation following a violent clash between BAMN and white supremacist groups at a 2016 rally. The report seems to downplay the actions and beliefs of white supremacists while portraying the leftists as aggressors. 

“In 2016, law enforcement learned that the Ku Klux Klan would be holding a rally at the State Capitol Building," it read. "The KKK consisted of members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda. In response, a number of groups mobilized to protest the rally. Flyers were posted asking people to attend in order to shut down the rally."

Mike German, a former FBI agent who specializes in far-right movements, told the Guardian the bureau ignored “100 years of Klan terrorism that has killed thousands of Americans and continues using violence right up to the present day.”

“This description of the KKK should be an embarrassment to FBI leadership,” German added.

The rally in question was organized in Sacramento, California, by Neo-Nazi groups the Golden State Skinheads and the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP). These groups hold views similar to the KKK and are the groups the FBI referred to as the KKK in its report.

At least seven leftist protesters were stabbed at the event, but none of the neo-Nazis or white supremacists were charged. As the FBI began its surveillance, local California officials worked with the white supremacists in their investigation into BAMN. This investigation led to at least one wounded antifascist being charged with assault, even though she was the one who was stabbed.

BAMN members Yvette Felarca and Michael Williams are currently facing felony assault charges related to the rally, according to The Daily Californian. Felarca, a middle school teacher, was stabbed and bludgeoned during the confrontation.

The FBI determined BAMN members “lawfully exercised their First Amendment rights by engaging in peaceful protests.”

However, it also noted “members engaged in other activity by refusing to disperse, trespassing in closed buildings, obstructing law enforcement, and shouting during and interrupting public meetings so that the meetings could not continue” and explained the entire investigation was necessary as BAMN seemed to be working on a "conspiracy" infringing on the "rights" of the white supremacists.

Investigators also claimed it was “possible the actions of certain BAMN members may exceed the boundaries of protected activity and could constitute a violation of federal law.” The bureau cited BAMN’s advocacy against “rape and sexual assault” and “police brutality” as justification for its findings but did not explain why it is illegal to be opposed to these things.

BAMN national chair Shanta Driver said the probe is another example of the FBI’s history of bias against left-leaning organizations.

"The FBI’s interest in BAMN is part of a long-standing policy,” Driver said. “Starting with their campaign to persecute and slander Dr. Martin Luther King, they have a racist history of targeting peaceful civil rights and anti-racist organizations, while doing nothing to prosecute the racists and fascists who attacked Dr. King and the movement he built.”

The FBI refused to give any additional information about the probe or to say if it planned to investigate the white supremacist organizations. The bureau did say it only opens an investigation if an entity “may constitute a federal crime or pose a threat to national security."

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