For years, domestic terrorism researchers have warned that there are police departments in every region of America counting white supremacist extremists and neo-Nazi sympathizers among their ranks. To these experts, and the activists who have been targeted by law enforcement officers in past years, it came as no surprise that police officers were part of the mob that stormed the US Capitol on 6 January. In fact, the acceptance of far-right beliefs among law enforcement, they say, helped lay the groundwork for the extraordinary attacks in the American capital. “I’ve been trying to ring the alarm since before Donald Trump was elected,” said Cedric O’Bannon, a journalist and activist who was stabbed at a 2016 neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento and was later targeted by the investigating officer. “It’s nothing new. We’ve seen it getting worse and worse. The law enforcement collusion with white nationalists is clear,” he said. (…) Extremism experts and survivors of far-right violence have for years cried foul about the close ties between some police and white supremacist groups. These links have escalated under the Trump era, they’ve warned, with numerous examples of police openly protecting far-right organizers, including armed and violent ones. (…) The number of white supremacist extremists within US police forces is unknown, but even relying solely on cases that have been publicized shows the problem is widespread. Johnson, the Georgetown expert, testified in Congress last year about white supremacist infiltration of police. She found that since 2009, more than 100 police departments in 49 states have faced scandals involving officers making overtly racist statements. In Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana and elsewhere, active police officers have been outed as members of organized hate groups, including the KKK, she found. And this is likely the “tip of the iceberg”, she said, adding that polls showing that 10% of Americans believe it’s acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views, and that 12% supported the Capitol attack. Those rates are likely higher for police officers, she said, given that officers are disproportionately white and male.

via guardian: US Capitol riot: police have long history of aiding neo-Nazis and extremists