Earlier this month, the story broke that border patrol agents were participating in a secret Facebook group where they joked about the death of migrants, made racist comments about members of Congress, and posted vulgar and offensive images.
But it turns out that this was only the tip of the iceberg. A team of reporters at Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, have been working for the past year to collect information about police officers’ membership in extremist alt-right groups on Facebook. The project resulted in a three-part series called “To Protect and Slur,” which is the focus of today’s episode hosted by Richelle Wilson.
Our guest is investigative reporter Will Carless from Reveal, who gives an inside look into law enforcement’s involvement in secret hate groups on Facebook, including white supremacy organizations and armed militias. We spend the hour examining the coded language of the online alt-right, police officers’ ties to paramilitary groups, the relationship between online expressions of bias and real-world policing, and what this all reveals about law enforcement, the internet, and hate speech in America right now.
Will Carless is a correspondent for Reveal covering extremism. He has also worked as a foreign correspondent in Asia and South America. Prior to joining Reveal, he was a senior correspondent for Public Radio International’s Global Post team based in Rio de Janeiro. Before that, Will spent eight years at the Voice of San Diego, where he worked as head of investigations and won several awards for his work, including a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Cover image by Reveal