Volusia County

Suspect accused of shooting Daytona Beach officer may have ties to extremist group

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In social media posts leading up to Wednesday’s shooting of a Daytona Beach police officer, the suspect identified himself as a part of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

Channel 9 political reporter Christopher Heath has been digging into these connections including new information about a group the Southern Poverty Law Center calls, “bigoted, anti-white, antisemitic Black Nationalist group that preaches hate toward the LGBT and Jewish communities.”

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Last Saturday, a flyer was posted to Facebook for a “New Black Panther” event set to take place on June 21. The Daytona Beach officer shooting suspect, Othal Wallace, is identified as “O-Zone Wallace” in the posts.

The body camera video of the shooting was posted to the page of Malik Zulu Shabazz, a prominent leader in the New Black Panther Party, who wrote, “Take look at the video evidence in OZ case. Let’s look at the evidence.” He added: “The officer could have shot himself. There may have been two cops here.”

So what is the New Black Panther Party?

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“The New Black Panther Party is one of the most organized and anti-semitic Black Nationalist groups in the country,” said Oren Segal with the Anti-Defamation League.

Segal’s group, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center notes the New Black Panther Party is different from the original Black Panther Party, which largely disbanded in the 1980s.

“There’s a long history of promoting not just anti-white bigotry but explicitly anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry,” Segal said.

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Tracing its origins to the Nation of Islam in the late 1990s, the New Black Panther Party has a history of not just inflammatory rhetoric, but also has connections to bomb plots and shows of force by openly carrying weapons; tactics similar to other extremist groups.

Over the years, the group has also drawn attention due to threats against the police, usually in the wake of high-profile shootings.

See more in the video above.

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