Armed Oath Keepers Provide Ferguson Businesses With Security, Police Tell Them To Leave
Members of the group Oath Keepers headed to Ferguson to do their part in protecting businesses and citizens from the violence that has plagued the city since the grand jury announcement not to indict Officer Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.
After news reports of the National Guard not being deployed as promised on the first night of riots, members of the group decided to ascend on Ferguson to offer their support free of charge. They perched themselves atop roofs across the city to keep a watchful eye on things, and many residents expressed their gratitude for their services.
A resident of Ferguson, Greg Hildebrand, noticed someone on the roof of his apartment building and asked the man if he needed help. The man told him that he was security and would be on the roof all night to protect the building from rioters and looters. The previous night, shops below the apartments had windows broken, and other buildings close by were set on fire.
“I am in the middle of a difficult spot,” Hildebrand said. “I feel a lot better having those guys up on the roof.”
Some community members were uneasy of their presence and some have said that they are members of the KKK. In reality, they are volunteers of a nationwide organization that is dedicated to preserving Constitution. In their own words:
Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters who will fulfill the Oath we swore, with the support of like minded citizens who take an Oath to stand with us, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God. Our Oath is to the Constitution. Our motto is “Not on our watch!”
Due to media inquiries about the group, Ferguson Police told the Oath Keepers to leave the area after threatening them with arrest for operating without a license. They vowed to come back as protesters.
Photo Credit: Whitney Curtis for The New York Times
With continued violence in the area, they are staying for now, even though they cannot do as they were before without the possibility of arrest. I can’t say that I am very familiar with this group, but it seems that police should focus more on arresting the bad guys and leaving the good guys alone.
“When they’re here, there’s definitely a weight lifted off of our shoulders,” said Davis Vo, whose family owns New Chinese Gourmet. “I’d be lying if I said otherwise.”
What do you think about the group being in Ferguson? Do you feel that the city would benefit from them being able to stay on the rooftops armed?