Why Are Dallas Police Linking the Shooter to Rap Group “Public Enemy”?

An update on the suspected attacker talks about the group’s co-founder “Professor Griff.”

Professor Griff and Chuck D at a Public Enemy concert in 2006.<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dnik">Dnik</a>/Wikimedia Commons

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In a press release late Friday, the Dallas Police Department provided details about their investigation into the gunman in Thursday’s mass shooting, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a local resident and former soldier who served in Afghanistan. They said that a search of Johnson’s home revealed “bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics.” Strangely, the Dallas PD included a couple of select details about Johnson’s Facebook account:

The suspect’s Facebook account included the following names and information: Fahed Hassen, Richard GRIFFIN aka Professor Griff, GRIFFIN embraces a radical form of Afrocentrism, and GRIFFIN wrote a book A Warriors Tapestry.

It is unclear why the Dallas PD chose to include this information regarding Griffin, who was a member of the seminal 1980s rap group Public Enemy. The press release contained no further context about it.

Johnson’s Facebook page (which is no longer available online) reportedly contained a photo of Johnson posing with Griffin, who quickly took to Twitter to say that he had no relationship with the attacker.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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