Shortly after 10 p.m. on Thursday night, when Micah Xavier Johnson shot and killed five Dallas police officers and wounded nine others, Mauricelm-Lei Millere, founder of the African American Defense League hate group, posted a picture on his Instagram account.
The caption led with this: “We have no alternative! We must kill white police officers across the country!”
The picture was of a meeting with former President Bill Clinton, which Millere alleged occurred in May.
At 10:52 a.m. the morning after the shooting, Millere posted the following message to the African American Defense League’s Facebook page:
“WE ARE CALLING ON THE GANGS ACROSS THE NATION! ATTACK EVERYTHING IN BLUE EXCEPT THE MAIL MAN, UNLESS HE IS CARRYING MORE THAN MAIL!”
Micah Johnson was one of just 170 members who follow that Facebook page.
Founded in the wake of Ferguson protests in 2014, the African American Defense League is tiny, with possibly only Millere himself as its current leadership, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. But Millere and the AADL operate many different front groups, including a Jonesboro, Louisiana, church called the Morning Star Baptist Church. Multiple attempts to reach Millere at his several phone numbers, email addresses, and Facebook accounts went ignored at press time.
The AADL’s calls to kill white police officers are not new. In November of 2015, the AADL’s Facebook page said “every black person across this nation should find a white police to kill in every state and American/European province around the globe.”
After the killing of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police and before the terror in Dallas, Millere called for cops’ blood again.
“The Pig has shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! You and I know what we must do and I don’t mean marching, making a lot of noise, or attending conventions,” he wrote on Facebook. “We must ‘Rally The Troops!’ It is time to visit Louisiana and hold a barbeque.
“The highlight of our occasion will be to sprinkle Pigs Blood!”
About 36 hours later, Johnson took aim at white police officers from Dallas rooftops.
Oren Segal, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said it’s unlikely Johnson came across the obscure AADL, which has for years called for the deaths of white police officers, by accident.
“The fact that he liked the African American Defense League is interesting because it’s sort of a one-man operation,” Segal told The Daily Beast.
But Millere may not have been entirely alone. He referred to Malik Zulu Shabazz, the former head of the New Black Panther Party, as a board member of the AADL in a Facebook post provided to The Daily Beast by Segal.
Years ago, however, Shabazz took credit for the creation of the AADL, saying that he later handed it off to Millere, Segal said. Shabazz allegedly posted on Facebook that the group was a “broad based organization that will organize and defend our human rights.” (The posts have since been deleted, Segal said.)
In a phone call to The Daily Beast on Thursday afternoon, Shabazz went to great lengths to distance himself and the New Black Panther Party from Millere.
“(Millere) is under observation. We don’t know whether he is with the movement or not. We don’t take him seriously,” Shabazz said. “He may, in fact, be a plant. We don’t endorse what he says. He’s under suspicion as a plant.”
Indeed, the Anti-Defamation League’s Segal said he’s seen little interaction between the New Black Panther Party and Millere’s organization.
“The fact that he never became a central figure in the New Black Panther party may suggest that he’s too extreme for them,” Segal added.
Shabazz, however, is listed as a “racist black nationalist with a well-documented history of anti-Semitic remarks,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extremist database.
At 1995’s African Black Holocaust Nationhood conference, Shabazz said, “the Caucasians and the government are arrogant, telling us how to suffer… America should be glad that every black man is not on a killing spree for all the suffering they have done.”
Just last year Shabazz added that “it’s time for lifting weights and working out and going to the gun range and all of that.”
“Right now is the time to build up that army. Right now it’s time for us to build up those corps, those troops,” he added.
Shortly after the shooting on Thursday night, Shabazz posted a Dallas CBS affiliate’s breaking report of the shooting, adding that “Grief and pain and funerals now on all sides. As the chickens have no come home to roost.”
Millere responded minutes later: “Wonderful News Self-Defense Is! Isn’t It?”
The comment remained up on Shabazz’s Facebook page for over 14 hours. It was removed and replaced with a warning about “agent provocateurs” on his Facebook page sometime after a Daily Beast reporter contacted Shabazz about his relationship with Millere and more information about one of Shabazz’s clients, Niecee Cornute.
Cornute, who was detained by police during the Dallas protests Thursday night, is the leader and founder of the Black Women’s Defense League. It’s a self-described “a coalition of women of color on the path to total liberation through defense training and community building.” Millere said that Cornute marched in the protests in Dallas before shots rang out, but insisted “she has absolutely nothing to do with it.”
“She was detained and released because she has no involvement in the shooting. She was a demonstrator. She has been a person that has obviously been surveilled, not that she had anything to do with it,” said Shabazz.
Shabazz added that the police had seized Cornute’s car.
“I’m kind of upset about it. They have not returned her vehicle and that’s a problem I’m trying to work through,” he said.
Cornute posted on Facebook that she had been released from police custody.
“Please don’t ask me for details,” she wrote. “I am fine and out of custody currently. All further questions will need to go through my lawyer Malik Zulu Shabazz.”
On Friday afternoon, Cornute said she was on her way to Philadelphia from Chicago-O’Hare International Airport. “Much love for all the love I’ve gotten over the last few hours,” she wrote. “Yall rollin DEEP. I am proud of my sisters and brothers. Stay vigilant be smart and be AWARE.”
The Dallas-based Black Women’s Defense League was one of the dozens of Micah Johnson’s likes on Facebook—another apparent link between the sniper and the community of militants in Texas.