A “manifesto” purportedly written by Gavin Long — who fatally shot three Baton Rouge police officers and injured three more on July 17 — said his actions were a “necessary evil” so that he can “create substantial change within America’s police forces and judicial system.”
The handwritten three-page letter was sent as three photo attachments to Yarima Karama, an Ohio rapper, less than an hour before Long engaged police in a gunfight Sunday. Karama said that Long would occasionally comment on his YouTube videos but stressed that he didn’t know Long personally and doesn’t know why he received the email.
Karama discussed the letter in a Facebook Live video on Tuesday. On Wednesday he read the letter in full on his YouTube channel. Karama forwarded the full document to BuzzFeed News on request on Tuesday.
When asked about the letter, a spokesman for the FBI’s New Orleans office told BuzzFeed News, “We are unable to comment on any ongoing investigations.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Louisiana State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Long, a 29-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, and Marine veteran who went by Cosmo Setepenra online, described himself in posts as a life guru and a person upset with police killings of black men and concerned about government surveillance. “One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors, from victims fighting their bullies, 100% have been successful through fighting back through bloodshed,” he said in one video.
Long began the letter by writing that those who know him personally would be in “disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous acts of violence.” He added that those who know him would think it is “completely out of character of the MAN you knew who was always positive, encouraging, & wore a smile wherever he was seen.”
Long asked that people read the document before coming to a conclusion, despite knowing that he will be “vilified by the media & police.”
Long apparently plagiarized the first lines of his letter from the rambling 11-page manifesto of Christopher Dorner — a former Los Angeles police officer who shot five law enforcement personnel, killing two of them, in 2013. Dorner killed a total of four people and led the police on a 10-day manhunt.
The first 25 words of both letters are identical. So are the phrases "to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man," "always wore a smile where he was seen," "will be vilified by the," and "necessary evil that I do not."
It appears that no other portions were lifted from Dorner's manifesto.
The email, sent with the subject line “manifesto,” was sent to Karama on Sunday, July 17, at 9:04 a.m. ET (in Ohio, where Karama lives). That is 36 minutes before Baton Rouge police reported seeing Long, wearing all black and carrying a rifle, behind a beauty parlor at 8:40 a.m. local time. At 8:42 a.m., police received emergency reports of shots fired.
Karama forwarded the email to BuzzFeed News, showing that he received it from Cosmo Setepenra with the email address email@example.com. (Karama has received newsletter-style emails from that address before, including one on July 11 that discussed Alton Sterling, who was killed by Baton Rouge police.) That email address is also registered to a now-defunct website of Long’s, convoswithcosmo.club, that points to his last known home address in Kansas City.
Metadata on the photos sent to Karama suggest they were taken with a Motorola phone on July 17, the day of the shooting, at 7:54 a.m., 7:56 a.m., and 7:57 a.m CT — and were sent to Karama seven minutes after being taken. It should be noted that metadata in photos can easily be faked or altered.
Long wrote that his actions were a “necessary evil” that he does not “enjoy” but “must partake in” to “create substantial change within America’s police forces and Judicial system.”
A common theme in the document is that “good cops” exist and are in the “majority,” but they face obstacles and harassment when they discuss the actions of “bad cops.”
“Right now their is a unseen & concealed war within America’s police force between Good cops & Bad cops,” wrote Long. “And the way the current system is set up, it protects all cops whether good or bad, right or wrong, instead of punishing bad cops & holding them accountable for their actions.”
Long wrote that “good cops” get “reprimanded, harassed, blackballed or blacklisted” when they speak out about the “wrong” and “criminal” acts of “bad cops.”
“Therefore I must bring the same destruction that bad cops continue to inflict upon my people, upon bad cops as well as good cops in hopes that the good cops (which are the majority) will be able to stand together to enact justice and punishment against bad cops b/c right now the police force & current judicial system is not doing so,” Long wrote.
“Protected & unpunished bad cops forces melanated people to label the good cop as potential threats to the safety & well-being of our women, family, & children,” Long wrote, pleading for “good cops” to make a change within their own departments.
Long went on to “salute” and thank eight law enforcement officers by name who have spoken out against police brutality or corruption. Long said he considered those officers “good,” before signing his name as Cosmo.
“A sacrifice for my people, & a sacrifice for the people,” he wrote near the end.
Read the entire document here:
I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous acts of violence. You are thinking to yourself that this is completely out of character of the MAN you knew who was always positive, encouraging, & wore a smile wherever he was seen. Yes this does seem to be out of character but I ask that you finish reading before you make that decision.
I know I will be vilified by the media & police, unfortunately, I see my action’s as a necessary evil that I do not wish to partake in, nor do I enjoy partaking in, but must partake in, in order to create substantial change within America’s police forces and Judicial system.
Right now their is a unseen & concealed war within America’s police force between Good cops & Bad cops. And the way the current system is set up, it protects all cops whether good or bad, right or wrong, instead of punishing bad cops & holding them accountable for their actions.
And when good cops do try and stand up, speak out, & point out the wrong’s & criminal acts of a bad cops they get reprimanded, harassed, blackballed or blacklisted or all of these and more. Thus creating a perpetual systematic fertile ground for bad cops to flourish, excell, & go unpunished in.
Therefore I must bring the same destruction that bad cops continue to inflict upon my people, upon bad cops as well as good cops in hopes that the good cops (which are the majority) will be able to stand together to enact justice and punishment against bad cops b/c right now the police force & current judicial system is not doing so.
Therefore now if the bad cops, law makers, & justice system leader’s care about the welfare, familie’s, & well-being of their fellow good cops, then they (bad cops) will quit committing criminal acts against melanated people & the people in general. If not, my people, & the people in general will continue to strike back against all cops until we see that bad cops are no longer protected & allowed to flourish. B/C until this happens, we the people cannot differentiate the the good from the bad.
Protected & unpunished bad cops forces melanated people to label the good cop as potential threats to the safety & well-being of our women, family, & children. Good cops I ask that you help change this situation that we find ourselves in by starting from within the force & making an impact in their.
For the sake of preventing future loss of life rather it be from the hand of bad cops upon melanated people, or from the hand of the people upon good cops, I do not ask but order (With & By the power of the people behind me) for all bad cops to be punished swiftly, completely, & unhesitatingly; & for all unethical police practices & procedure’s to cease immediately.
Condolences to my people & their loved ones who have been victims at the hands of bad cops for decades. And condolences to the good cops & their families as well.
And special salute $ thank you to the brave cops that have already identified & spoke up against bad cops and racist unjust practices.
The list of good cops include but are not limited to: Officer Edwin Raymond & to the approximate 10 other officers who are coming forward against illegal practices of the NYPD targeting my people unethically.
Salute to Officer Nakia Jones Officer Joe Crystal Fellow Marine & EX-Cop MIchael Wood. Retired Captain Ray Lewis. Former Police Chief Norm Stamper.
Officer Billy Ray Fields. & Officer Frank Serpico.
And every other officer who stands up & protects & serves, and upholds their oath, even if it’s protecting the people from one of their fellow officers.
Sincerely, Love Cosmo
A sacrifice for my people, & a sacrifice for the people.
- “LOOK UP, GET UP, & DONT EVER GIVE UP”!
Yamira Kamara describes when he received the letter:
Jeremy Singer-Vine contributed to this report.
Update: This post was updated to reflect the fact that Long plagiarized Dorner.
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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