WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police Department’s intelligence office has warned its officers that violence is a possibility this weekend as a rally commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, and the department’s union president is unhappy about it.
This weekend’s rally is organized by the Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakhan, and the intelligence office of the Capitol Police said last month in an email newsletter that Farrakhan “has been accused of inciting violence against both Caucasians and police officers.”
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine tells The Washington Post that the newsletter was “rescinded as it was not authorized, reviewed, or approved by the Chief of Police, adding that the department “prides itself on protecting the rights of people to peaceably assemble under the First Amendment.”
But James Konczos, president of the Capitol Police officers’ union, has called for Dine’s resignation, saying in an email that many officers took exception to the “race-baiting” tone of the newsletter.
The newsletter, from the department’s Protective Services Bureau of the Division of Intelligence and Information Analysis, acknowledges that the original Million Man March and its follow-up event, 2000’s Million Family March, were peaceful.
Indeed, fears of violence this weekend so far center around anti-Muslim protesters who are scheduled to demonstrate at 20 mosques and centers nationwide, including one organizer who has called on supporters to bring guns to these demonstrations, The Post reports.
Yet the newsletter from the Capitol Police intelligence office says of Farrakhan: “Incendiary, antagonistic, confrontational, race-baiter, are but a few of the adjectives used to describe [him],” adding, “long considered somewhat of an opportunist, [Farrakhan] is no novice when it comes to fanning the flames of fire.”
“It is comments like these that contribute to the anti-police movement that has led to officers being murdered,” Konczos wrote to the Police Board, a collection of Capitol officials who oversee the department.
“Our officers are well aware of the current problems facing law enforcement, so there was no need for this newsletter to be written, let alone released,” Konczos wrote.
The rally, called Justice or Else, is expected to center on police brutality, justice for Native Americans, women and Latinos, and is set for 10 a.m. Saturday.
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