Washington, DC – Today, a Texas agency rescinded the law enforcement accreditation it provided for a training conducted in San Angelo on May 4 by well-known conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim zealot, John Guandolo.
The move comes after Muslim Advocates and other civil rights advocates raised concerns in a joint letter urging the agency to rescind this accreditation because “Guandolo’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and ‘teachings’ disparage the faith of millions of Americans and promote biased policing that discriminatorily targets individuals and communities based on religion and ethnicity—not on evidence of actual wrongdoing.”
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), a state regulatory agency, originally offered accreditation for the training as a continuing education course for police, despite the fact that law enforcement agencies in Virginia, Kansas, and Ohio have previously cancelled or declined to endorse such trainings due to Guandolo’s bigoted views.
In response to the joint letter, TCOLE executive director Kim Vickers sent a letter to Muslim Advocates earlier today stating “Given the concerns raised, TCOLE took the extraordinary step of sending a staff member to the seminar. This staff member recorded the presentation, and upon review, I and my executive staff agree that not only was the material presented concerning in its overly broad characterization of an entire subset of the population, but it provided no training value for law enforcement attendees. As such, TCOLE has rejected the training submitted for law enforcement attendees for this seminar, and no continuing education credit will be awarded.”
According to Juvaria Khan, staff attorney for Muslim Advocates, “We applaud TCOLE for giving Guandolo’s training the review it deserves and joining the law enforcement agencies across the country that have cancelled or declined to endorse these anti-Muslim seminars. These events have no training value and, in fact, undermine the ability of law enforcement officers to do their jobs effectively. There are still questions out there as to whether Guandolo’s past trainings in Texas have counted for accreditation, but TCOLE’s actions today send an important message to other law enforcement agencies that Guandolo’s seminars are dangerous and should be rejected.”
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.