— Stewart Rhodes (@StewartRhodesOK) December 1, 2014
Over the weekend we wrote of the heart-warming story of irregular militias coming together to provide private security for Ferguson businesses that survived the first night of arson and looting that followed the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting robbery suspect Michael Brown in self-defense.
The St. Louis County Police have now incredibly threatened these volunteers with arrest for keeping the city safe:
Equipped with militia-style clothing and firearms, the Oath Keepers had been offering free security for businesses at risk of looting and arson in Ferguson.
They took up positions on rooftops after the St Louis suburb erupted in an orgy of violence and destruction following the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot dead 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Police questioned group members early last week and initially allowed them to stay.
But as tensions remained high in Ferguson over the weekend, St. Louis County police officers ordered the Oath Keepers to leave the rooftops, threatening them with arrest for operating without a licence.
‘When we hear information that someone, or a group, is providing security without a license, our department has to investigate the issue,’ police spokesman, Shawn McGuire, told the New York Times in an email.
The Oath Keepers who responded to Ferguson were a hand-selected group of military servicemen and police officers, according to the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes. Rhodes said all were carefully vetted, and they were met with open arms by business owners and residents alike.
It probably shouldn’t come as a shock that the police were initially fine with the presence of the Oath Keepers. After all, one of the Oath Keepers volunteering to protect these businesses was John Karriman, a defensive tactics instructor at the regional police academy, the Criminal Justice Center at Missouri Southern State University.
That mutually-supportive relationship between the local police and the Oath Keepers lasted until the story of the group’s success became popular over the weekend as an example of the good things that the irregular militia still does in these modern times.
Once that occurred, anti-gun Democrat politicians at the state and federal level brought the weight of the government to bear, according to Rhodes in an interview.
“We had an alarming incident that happened last night with our team spotting what looked like a fed three-man sniper team moving into a nearby house on higher ground, and then pointing their rifles at our team of American combat veterans, while our team was guarding the buildings against looters.”
Rhodes said the team even observed the state highway patrol snipers deploy onto the roof of a nearby fire hall and point rifles at them.
“Our team leader called Unified Command to find out what was going on and then local police responded,” he explained.
He said that the local police were unaware of what the federal government were doing and that there was no coordination. “The local police are on our side and expressed gratitude for us being there, but the Feds are trying to run us out.”
The federal government is trying to badmouth this organization of ex-police and ex-military, even called them a “domestic terrorist” group.
There has not been independent verification of the presence of federal and state law enforcement officers attempting to intimidate the Oath Keepers, though the obscure fig leaf of a law that the government used to threaten the group shows that someone worked very hard to find a dubious excuse to bring pressure to remove the group of guardians.
Other businesses in the area burned when Democrat Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused to deploy the National Guard on the first night of rioting. Federal DHS and FBI agents known to be in the area in significant numbers have largely been absent from public view.
The Oath Keepers and other private citizens voluntarily took up arms in Ferguson to protect residents and business owners when the government once again failed to protect the citizenry.
No wonder the government wanted this group, which was an effective deterrent to violence and an embarrassing reminder of their failures, forced from public view.