An expert has testified that a man who is on trial for fatally shooting two Florida police officers may be tied to an extremist anti-government political group.
On August 18, 2017, Kissimmee Police Officer Matthew Baxter was on patrol when he approached three people to investigate a report of suspicious activity. One of the men, Everett Glenn Miller, recorded the confrontation on his phone.
In the video, Miller is seen telling Baxter, “Call your sergeant, please, sir. . . . Hey, call everybody up here. We ‘bout to put this on Facebook Live.” Baxter is seen on video requesting Miller to, “Please come here.” Miller responded, “I’m not coming to you. You come to me.”
Baxter later called for his sergeant, Richard “Sam” Howard. A “scuffle” broke out and Baxter and Howard were shot in the head. Baxter died that night and Howard died the next day.
Deputies who arrested Miller reported that he appeared to be reaching for a gun before he was subdued. Miller was in possession of two handguns, including a revolver with six spent casings.
Miller is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, carrying a concealed weapon, and resisting without violence in connection with the deaths.
At a pretrial hearing, an expert witness on political and anti-government extremism testified for the prosecution. The expert testified that Miller’s beliefs are consistent with those of a group that the FBI has designated as extremist.
The expert said, “his beliefs are consistent with those of the Moorish movement, a loosely-knit group of related organizations that fall under the black identity extremist (B.I.E.) designation.” The expert also testified that Miller was using a name on social media that indicated his beliefs, Malik Mohammad Ali. The expert also said that she found notes in his car and books that indicated a link to the Moorish movement.
The expert referenced a now declassified FBI intelligence assessment titled “Black identity extremists likely motivated to target law enforcement officers.” She used the report to explain why the FBI believes the extremists seek to use force or violence in response to perceived racism and injustice in American society to establish a separate black homeland in the United States.
The expert listed Miller’s following actions as showing a link to the Moorish movement: his use of the #makeamerickkamooragain in social media, requesting a book about black superiority, and notes in his car that referenced Moorish leaders.
Since political beliefs are constitutionally protected, the court might ultimately exclude the evidence as more prejudicial than probative of guilt. The court might conclude that the expert’s testimony is designed to prove guilt by association or that it is likely to inflame the jury’s passions. Political beliefs in themselves do not establish that everyone who shares those beliefs has an incentive to commit murder.
Miller’s next court hearing is scheduled for November, with a trial that could begin in early 2019.
Miller is a former Marine whose background reportedly includes intelligence analysis during Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom while working with the United States Special Operations Command. While enlisted as a Marine, Miller was stationed in Tampa, North Carolina and Okinawa, Japan.
Miller’s neighbor, Cartrell Bright, commented that he was heartbroken about Miller’s arrest and that he had shown signs of mental illness. Bright said, “He’s sick. . . . He just lost his mind or something.”