Reporting Domestic Extremism
January 24, 2021 9:32 AM   Subscribe

There are two people in my community (USA) that seem to have crossed a line. They didn’t literally storm the capital but they have the ideology and the means to do it elsewhere and/or inspire others to do so. They have large followings in secret groups that I have access to. Reporting to my local police seems like a terrible idea since the police here are populated by plenty of that type. The FBI site says to contact local law enforcement. Where do I report someone, and not compromise my own safety?

I’m literally looking for an anonymous reporting system to report domestic terrorists, that will allow me to upload screenshots of evidence. Please trust me that these people are scary and I have plenty of evidence, but obviously someone with expertise needs to perform a risk assessment and observe and/or intervene. I am not looking to “tattle on” run of the mill Trump supporters, these are people who have lots of money, guns, and anger and have made veiled threats and have a large audience. I hope they are already on a list but I would hold a lot of guilt if they did something and I didn’t sound an alarm in advance.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know the answer, but the SPLC would likely know. They also have an option on their site to Report a Hate Incident.
posted by coffeecat at 9:43 AM on January 24, 2021 [11 favorites]

If you have a congressperson that you think might be sympathetic, try them.

Otherwise, I'd go ahead and insist on contacting the FBI.

Thank you.

If you get stuck, please ask again.
posted by amtho at 9:54 AM on January 24, 2021 [8 favorites]

There might be some journalists, nonprofits, or academics who might be interested.

It frankly doesn't sound like anything you've seen would be of any immediate interest to law enforcement.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I am pretty sure that having money, guns and anger is not illegal. Having said that, I would contact the local office of the FBI. They are trained for this. Forget the website. Call the local office.
posted by AugustWest at 12:24 PM on January 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

It frankly doesn't sound like anything you've seen would be of any immediate interest to law enforcement.

This is flat wrong and please ignore anyone who tells you this. If they’re members or leaders of hate groups and have been making threats of violence, that will most certainly be of interest to law enforcement, as making violent threats can be a federal crime. Call your local FBI office.
posted by holborne at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2021 [17 favorites]

I am pretty sure that having money, guns and anger is not illegal.

No, but... I'm not in the USA, but where I am, I believe people can be added to law enforcement watch-lists as a result of family and friends reporting concerns about radicalisation, if those reported concerns are backed up by some of law enforcement's own investigations.

Which doesn't help you decide who to report it to, just wantd to support your instinct that you should do that.
posted by penguin pie at 12:57 PM on January 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

(When I say law enforcement, I don't necessarily mean local police, I mean the appropriate agencies - FBI or what have you.)
posted by penguin pie at 12:58 PM on January 24, 2021

To add - one reason to contact your local PD is to get on file that a concerned citizen came to them with x/y/z information, so that way if one of these people does go on to do something violent, they might be held accountable (my the local media, politicians, etc.) if it turns out they completely ignored it. While we can dream that Biden will do some sort of police reform, more grassroots efforts may ultimately be more efficient.
posted by coffeecat at 1:03 PM on January 24, 2021

Does your city have a report a concern feature on their website? You could use that.
posted by notjustthefish at 1:10 PM on January 24, 2021

Is this Electronic Tip Form from the FBI the kind of thing you're looking for? They're asking that tips for the Capital riot be submitted through that form, so I assume it would be appropriate for other domestic terrorism as well?
posted by gueneverey at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit with a focus on bringing those who foment hate crimes to justice. For example, they have a hate watch program where keep a data base of information on hate groups that they share with law enforcement and others. Here is their page on how to report a hate crime. If you report it to them, it will become part of their program although they aren't a position to investigate or act directly. (I would do it anyway) They also offer this link to report tips to the FBI on-line. That would at least get into their system.
posted by metahawk at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2021 [7 favorites]

I got some good advice from a night magistrate.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:23 AM on January 25, 2021

If you aren’t comfortable going to local law enforcement, have you considered going to state-level law enforcement such as state troopers? They tend to be more professional with higher barriers to entry, as well as often investigate city/county level law enforcement.
posted by TedW at 7:43 AM on January 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

It has been suggested via memail that this is my ask and it is not. Magistrate was very helpful but you gotta catch them alone. You can also go to the press
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:10 AM on January 26, 2021

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