Pete Simi, a professor of sociology at Chapman University, is overseeing a research team of the university’s students and graduates who are diving into court records about federal cases of death threats sent to public officials, including officials elected or appointed in health care, education and law enforcement. Their findings will help alleviate the rising numbers of threats against public officials in the United States.
Emergency managers and the average citizen need to understand the immediate and long-term impact of these threats to our civil society. Professor Simi has been studying political violence, hate, and extremism. His fieldwork has taken him inside white supremacist groups across the United States where he has been embedded with racist skinheads, Klan members, neo-Nazis, and anti-government militias. He is co-author (along with Robert Futrell) of an award-winning book American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement’s Hidden Spaces of Hate. The research is funded by a grant from the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE) at the University of Nebraska Omaha, the newest Center of Excellence for the Department of Homeland Security, the team is creating a database of federal indictments that involve threats to public officials across the country from 2013 to 2023.
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