Dallas shooting - The shooter

A 'lone wolf' with an interest in racist black militant groups

FBI investigators searching the scene (right), where 12 police officers were shot in Dallas, Texas. The gunman was 25-year-old Micah Johnson (left), a US Army veteran who is believed to have been angry about the recent police shootings of black men.
FBI investigators searching the scene, where 12 police officers were shot in Dallas, Texas. The gunman was 25-year-old Micah Johnson (above), a US Army veteran who is believed to have been angry about the recent police shootings of black men.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
FBI investigators searching the scene (right), where 12 police officers were shot in Dallas, Texas. The gunman was 25-year-old Micah Johnson (left), a US Army veteran who is believed to have been angry about the recent police shootings of black men.
FBI investigators searching the scene (above), where 12 police officers were shot in Dallas, Texas. The gunman was 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a US Army veteran who is believed to have been angry about the recent police shootings of black men.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • The man who the Dallas police say killed five officers in a barrage of bullets on Thursday was a troubled army reservist who left Afghanistan under a cloud of sexual harassment charges.

Micah Johnson, 25, left the service in 2015, moving back to the Dallas area, where he had grown up. There, he gravitated towards black power groups, displaying his affinity for them on Facebook.

His profile page, which has since been taken down, paid homage to black pride, featuring images of a raised fist and pictures of the red, black and green Pan-African flag. Both have been symbols of non-violent black empowerment for decades, but have also been co-opted by extremist groups with racist views.

And when the authorities searched Johnson's home on Friday, after he had been killed by the police, they said they found "bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics".

Johnson, who the police said acted alone, served in the army reserve from 2009 to 2015. While he was in Afghanistan, a female soldier in Johnson's unit sought a protection order against him, accusing him of sexual harassment and saying he needed mental health counselling, according to Mr Bradford Glendening, the military lawyer assigned to represent him.

According to Mr Glendening, the army initiated proceedings to kick Johnson out of the military for what is known as an other-than-honourable discharge.

On his Facebook page, Johnson "liked" two groups, which seems to shed light on his ideological views.

One was the New Black Panther Party. The Anti-Defamation League calls it "the largest organised anti-Semitic and racist black militant group in the United States". The other group was the African American Defence League, which was formed in 2014 by a man named Mauricelm-Lei Millere, who is known for urging violence against police.

Johnson's Facebook page also included a picture of himself with Richard Griffin of the rap group Public Enemy. Griffin made headlines in the 1980s for anti-Semitic comments and has been a long-time supporter of the New Black Panther Party. In a series of posts on Twitter, Griffin said that he did not know Johnson and that he did not "advocate killing cops".

Mr Yafeuh Balogun, member of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club which is named for the founder of the original Black Panther Party, said that he had spotted Johnson at demonstrations, but described him as more of a lone wolf.

"He was part of a loose-knit group of citizens that feel there needs to be some change that needs to take place," Mr Balogun said.

"The difference is Micah took an extreme position."

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 10, 2016, with the headline 'A 'lone wolf' with an interest in racist black militant groups'. Print Edition | Subscribe