FBI says hate groups look for and target young people across the nation

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - From the shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and now the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, hate crimes have been on the increase since 2016, according to the FBI.

Tonight in a 3 On Your Side Exclusive, we talk with the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Jackson Field Office, Jermicha Fomby, about hate crimes and how the public can make a difference.

President Joe Biden is calling the massacre in Buffalo “domestic terrorism.”

The President also wants to shine a spotlight on the growing threat of racial hate, which investigators say motivated the 18-year-old now charged in the case. Special Agent Fomby says hate groups look for and target kids.

“From the FBI standpoint, we’re taking very proactive steps to bring out awareness of these things,” Fomby said. “You know there is what we term as racially motivated violent extremists and they’re very actively engaging and targeting our youth.”

Since 2016 hate crimes have been more prevalent across the nation.

“You have almost double of reported hate crimes. So you went from 9 in 2016, and then we had a total of 16 in 2020. Now that is an increase in reporting. If there is more that occur and people don’t report it, then it prevents us from having the ability to really go out and engage and address these matters”, said Fomby.

While he cannot give specifics about cases, Fomby says the FBI stops more attacks by these groups or members of such groups than the public is aware of.

“We don’t publicize the things that we stop,” said Fomby. “And we don’t do that for obvious reasons such as they may expose something that we don’t want exposed through investigations. They also may alert others of other things that are going on, and unfortunately by publicizing those that we stop sometimes may motivate someone to go and do something or try an action or technique.”

Fomby also says it is important for citizens to be aware and not desensitized to red flags or warning signs. In other words, if you see something, say something.

“Routinely, we have places that we know we don’t go because we don’t belong. The grocery store, church, those are not those places”, Fomby said.

Fomby also tells us he is personally committed, along with every member of his team in the Jackson Field Office as well as law enforcement across the state to keeping citizens safe and to protecting their constitutional rights from extremists.

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