Hank Newsome, Chairman of Black Lives Matter New York chapter, says the group is developing a highly-trained military arm in preparing for a war on police.
The group is developing armed “patrols” who will be able to defend African-American neighborhoods themselves, Newsome told The Daily Mail.
“We want liberation. We want the power to determine our own destiny. We want freedom from an oppressive government, and we want the immediate end of government sanctioned murder by the police,” he said.
“It’s our obligation, it is our duty to provide people with a pathway forward,” he said.
He says police officers have waged war on African-Americans for years but that his chapter is now “escalating” the battle.
“We’re talking about self-defense. We’re talking about defending our communities,” he says. “You know what it’s like to see a taser pointed at a seven-year-old, you know what it’s like to see a 67-year-old black woman… pepper sprayed and pushed to the ground?”
Protests and riots have raged across the U.S. since May 25 when Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd while attempting to take him into custody for passing off counterfeit bills at a local restaurant.
There have been demands to disband and defund police departments sweeping the country since.
Newsome has a law degree and was a project manager at a law firm before becoming an activist full-time. He says the chapter is building up a “war chest” and plans on building a headquarters in an unused church in New York.
“We will build and train peace officers to keep the peace in our communities, to defend our communities, to keep our communities safe,” he said. “I don’t see us working with police. I see us policing ourselves. I see us teaching black people how to police their own communities.”