March 20, 2021
Erroll Southers appeared on NBC4 to provide analysis on the vehicle attack on the U.S. Capitol.
March 18, 2021
Erroll Southers appeared on WJLA-TV Government Matters with Francis Rose to discuss attacks on Asian Americans, the progress of the Capitol insurrection and what we can expect in those areas going forward.
March 15, 2021
Erroll Southers was featured in an article in Medium entitled, “Former FBI Agent: Capitol Police Ignored Warnings About Jan. 6 Attack.”
March 11, 2021
The Safe Communities Institute hosted a book talk and Jessie Redd moderated the conversation with Dr. Joana Cook, featuring her work entitled, “A Woman’s Place, U.S. Counterterrorism Since 9/11.”
March 9, 2021
The Safe Communities Institute co-sponsored the “Protecting Your Family Webinar,” featuring SCI instructor Opal Singleton.
March 5, 2021
The San Diego Union quoted Erroll Southers in an article entitled, “Federal government finally puts domestic terrorism front and center.”
March 4, 2021
Erroll Southers gave a talk on “Homegrown Violent Extremism and Protecting Houses of Worship” to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Operations Valley Bureau (OVB) Clergy Council Summit.
March 2, 2021
The Hillcrest Country Club hosted, “A Conversation with Dr. Erroll Southers on the Growing Threat Posed by Anti-Semitism, White Supremacy, and Domestic Terrorism.”
February 20, 2021
The Houston Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists featured Malcolm Nance, Naveed Jamali and Erroll Southers for a panel discussion on the “Clubhouse” social media platform entitled, “The Threat From Within; Extremists, Law Enforcement, Media.”
February 16, 2021
Erroll Southers was a panelist for the UCLA School of Law forum on violent extremism, discussing the Capitol attack, terrorism laws, extremism in law enforcement and the nexus to 9/11 responses.
February 10, 2021
Erroll Southers was the guest for the Talkin’ Politics & Religion podcast, sharing insights on domestic terrorism, violent extremism and police reform.
February 9, 2021
Erroll Southers was featured in a USC News article entitled, “Decades before the Capitol was stormed, this USC professor was researching domestic extremism.”
January 23, 2021
Erroll Southers appeared on MSNBC’s “Cross Connection” with Tiffany Cross to discuss the historic threat of white supremacy, domestic terrorism and the Capitol insurrection
WGN America News Nation interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the White House response to the domestic extremism threat
January 21, 2021
Trymaine Lee interviewed Erroll Southers for the MSNBC podcast “Into America” regarding “Fighting White Supremacy on Day One,” the challenges the Biden administration will face regarding the right-wing extremist white supremacy threat and the its infiltration into the law enforcement agencies tasked with those investigations
January 20, 2021
Erroll Southers joined other USA Today Opinion Board of Contributors, in publishing COVID recommendations for the incoming administration entitled, “What is the most important step Joe Biden can immediately take to address COVID?”
January 19, 2021
USA Today quoted Erroll Southers in an article entitled, “‘Tough as nails’: Lawmakers to grill Avril Haines, Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence”
January 18, 2021
KCRW “Morning Edition” interviewed Erroll Southers about security precautions being taken at both the state capitol in Sacramento and in Los Angeles for possible protests by Pro-Trump extremists
January 17, 2021
German television network ZDF interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the security concerns for the presidential inauguration and possible hostile actions targeting state capitols
WGN America News Nation interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the ongoing domestic terror threat, inauguration security and protection of the nation’s state capitols
January 15, 2021
WGN America News Nation interviewed Erroll Southers to discuss the security preparations for the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol and state capitols across the nation
Government Matters TV interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the intelligence and information sharing failures prior to the January 6 Capitol attack
January 14, 2021
Erroll Southers published an op-ed in USA Today entitled, “Capitol riot: Trump’s exit won’t end the far-right violent terrorism threats he fueled.” Southers is a member of the USA Today’s Board of Contributors.
“Honestly Speaking with Tara Setmayer“ podcast interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the level of possible level of coordination and cooperation within Capitol law enforcement and members of Congress to facilitate the breach of the Capitol, how the radicalization of these groups has grown and what we can expect for the upcoming Inauguration
January 13, 2021
Swing Left Podcast interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the elements of homegrown violent extremism in motivating the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6 and what communities and government will need to do to mitigate future recruitment activities.
January 12, 2021
Foreign Policy interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the security lapse and law enforcement failures associated with the January 6 Capitol riots entitled, “This Was Like Charlottesville on Steroids.”
January 9, 2021
WGN America News Nation interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the investigation into the suspects who attacked the United States Capitol, recommended changes for protecting federal buildings or state capitols and my concern given the reported plans for additional attacks on January 17
January 7, 2021
Roland Martin Unfiltered interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the Capitol security failures during the takeover of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
Shep Smith of CNBC interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the Capitol security failures during the takeover of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
The Lincoln Project interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the Capitol security failures during the takeover of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
January 6, 2021
NBC4 Palm Springs interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the forcible occupation of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
Jessica Yellen of News Not Noise interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the forcible occupation of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
NBC4 Los Angeles interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the forcible occupation of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
The National Black Network (NBN) interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the forcible occupation of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
Spectrum News 1 interviewed Erroll Southers regarding the forcible occupation of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters to stop the process of the presidential election certification by the Electoral College
The Virus of Hate - A Letter from the Desk of Erroll Southers, Director of the Safe Communities Institute
April 2, 2020
The world is several months into a pandemic, and the true scope and impact is beginning to fully reveal itself throughout the United States. The novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, is deadly, and in the United States, thousands are dying. The disease has already killed more Americans than our adversaries did on September 11, 2001.
The United States has never seen anything like this, and it’s all anyone speaks or writes about. Unfortunately, this pandemic has also facilitated a global classroom for extremists to watch and learn how we are responding to this challenge. Every week reveals new flaws in our decision-making, policies and operations that are analyzed by astute and adaptive adversaries. Violent extremists are using this time to calculate vulnerability, plot future attacks and recruit new adherents as part of a larger asymmetric strategy.
This is precisely why in this time we must remain vigilant and dedicated to addressing and stopping homegrown violent extremism (HVE). Extremists exploit times of discord, disunity and fear, particularly when public priorities are squarely in the realm of public health. They seek to kick us while we’re down as they realize, ultimately, there is no public health without public safety and security.
Hate and extremism are infectious, sometimes as difficult to identify as a microscopic virus—until the symptoms of HVE emerge in the form of attacks. We are already seeing the kinds of activities our adversaries are engaged in while Americans shelter at home.
The FBI’s New York Field Office issued an alert that white supremacists and neo-Nazis are encouraging members to spread coronavirus to law enforcement and Jewish communities.
A 36-year-old man described as a “potentially violent extremist known to express racial and religious hatred and antigovernment sentiment” plotted to bomb a Kansas City medical center and was killed in a shootout with FBI agents.
FBI analysis is warning of an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, noting there has been a surge in reports of hate crimes and incidents from Los Angeles to Texas to New York.
With thousands of organizations and businesses shifting to online meetings, there are a growing number of “Zoombombing” instances, in which extremists join public online meetings through the Zoom videoconferencing tool and bombard the group with extremist images and propaganda. Numerous cases are being reported by synagogues, Jewish organizations and schools.
In this time of national crisis, our attention, our resources and our priorities are in flux. It’s easy to lose sight of the reality that eventually the coronavirus infection curve will flatten, treatments and a vaccine will be developed and deployed, and we will return to a more normal existence. And when we do, the virus of hate and the extremists who carry it will still be here, perhaps emboldened after a period of exploiting pain and suffering to advance their evil ideologies and goals.
So what do we do? How do we preserve public safety in the face of a persistent extremist threat when the clear national priority is (rightfully) stopping the spread of infections to save thousands of American lives?
Vigilance: Suspicious behavior, communication and statements are revealing. No extremist operates in a vacuum. They have family, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances in their community who can identify troubling signs that an individual is trending toward violence. While law enforcement organizations across the country are not sheltering in place, the numbers of first responders with COVID-19 continues to rise. We should not be motivated by fear and unnecessarily call law enforcement at a time when officers and others are already over-burdened with the impact of the pandemic, but we should also never assume that troubling words and actions are innocuous. We must be vigilant in reporting suspicious activity to enhance our public safety.
Online Security: Extremists engaging in “Zoombombing” are preying on users unfamiliar with videoconferencing program security protocols. There are several simple steps that can allow a meeting host to deny access to a bad actor. The simplest way to overcome this extremist exploit is to become more educated about the online program and extremist activity and take appropriate precautions. There are resources online that can help.
Continued Education: At the Safe Communities Institute, we are continuing to work with houses of worship to increase awareness about the violent extremist threat. We are also pursuing grant opportunities to conduct threat assessments and educate public safety officers so they can better understand and respond to complex challenges. In the short term, we have shifted all of our programming online. Neither extremists nor COVID-19 can stop our focused effort to work toward a new understanding of public safety. It is important for us to be as adaptive and versatile as they are.
Continuity of Research: Our current projects examining the Impact of Building Design Attributes on Occupant Behavior in Response to Active Shooter Incidents in Offices and Schools, as well as the Neighborhood Data for Social Change Criminal Justice Data Initiative have transitioned the analysis phases to an online platform to mitigate the loss of valuable research momentum. These anticipated project outcomes are essential to a variety of entities responsible for the safety and security of students, building occupants and our communities.
In these dark times, we must rally to one another and demonstrate to ourselves and our adversaries that we have the capacity and capability to address simultaneous challenges. We may never find a vaccine for hate and extremism, which is why we cannot forget that extremists don’t take a day off, no matter what other challenges we face. To be sure, America is in the middle of a firestorm, but we have encountered calamity before. United, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
Stay safe, stay vigilant and stay connected.
Dr. Erroll Southers is the Director of the SCI Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies Program and award-winning Professor of the Practice of Governance in the Sol Price School of Public Policy. He is a former FBI Special Agent, Presidential nominee for TSA Administrator and California Governor’s appointee to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. He holds roles around the world and throughout the international counterterrorism and national security arena.