In an exclusive interview with Reuters, chairman of the New Black Panther Party Hashim Nzinga said that, if the law permits it, members of the organization will carry arms at the Republican National Convention later this month.
In last week's sniper attack in which a lone gunman killed five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest against police brutality, cops said they were initially confused as to where the gunfire was coming from because some demonstrators were legally carrying rifles.
Officials in OH have said it will be legal for protesters to carry weapons at demonstrations outside the convention under that state's "open carry" law, which allows civilians to carry guns in public. Additionally, the 2016 Republican National Convention, where presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and supporters will be in attendance, will also kick off on Monday in Cleveland. The People's New Black Panther Party, a black nationalist group, said Johnson had attended several of their meetings in Dallas.
The Republican National Committee and the New Black Panther Party did not immediately reply to Complex's requests for comment.
The group plans to provide security for a black unity event scheduled for Thursday.
"We are there to protect".
Although the shooter "liked" numerous black power pages on Facebook, including the New Black Panthers, Nzinga said he was not a member of the organization. 'We are going to carry out some of these great legal rights we have - to assemble, to protest and (to exercise) freedom of speech'. "We are not trying to do anything else", he told the news agency.
He added that his group plans on leaving Cleveland on Sunday, one day before the GOP convention opens.
Nzinga said his group has 36 chapters nationwide but declined to reveal membership numbers.
There appears to be some concern over the possibility of opposing groups clashing, further intensified over the fact that both groups have previously said they would be armed. It says white hate groups, such as the Aryan Brotherhood, have a much longer track record of carrying out violent attacks than black extremist groups. 'When we use our rights, the police want to take it away from us and they can't, ' he said.