Elected officers and police chiefs on leaked checklist of oath keepers

The names of lots of of US legislation enforcement, elected officers and navy personnel seem on leaked membership lists of a far-right extremist group accused of taking part in a key position within the riot. Jan. 6, 2021 on the U.S. Capitol, based on a report launched Wednesday.

The Anti-Defamation League Heart on Extremism has appeared into greater than 38,000 names on the leaks Oath Keepers membership lists and recognized greater than 370 folks it says at the moment work in legislation enforcement — together with as police chiefs and sheriffs — and greater than 100 people who find themselves at the moment members of the navy.

He additionally recognized greater than 80 folks working for or holding public workplace as of early August. Membership data was compiled right into a database printed by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets and techniques.

Data raises new issues concerning the presence of extremists in legislation enforcement and the navy who’re tasked with imposing the legal guidelines and defending the US. It’s significantly problematic for public officers to be related to extremists at a time when lies concerning the 2020 election are fueling threats of violence in opposition to lawmakers and establishments.

“Even for individuals who mentioned they left the group when it started using extra aggressive ways in 2014, it is essential to do not forget that the Oath Keepers have espoused extremism since their founding, and that reality does not matter. was not sufficient to dissuade these folks from signing up,” the report mentioned.

Look within the Oath Keepers database doesn’t show that an individual was ever an lively member of the group or shared its ideology. Some folks on the checklist contacted by The Related Press mentioned they had been briefly members years in the past and are now not affiliated with the group. Some mentioned that they had by no means contributed.

“Their views are means too excessive for me,” mentioned Otero County, Colorado Sheriff Shawn Mobley. Mobley advised the AP in an e-mail that he distanced himself from the Oath Keepers years in the past over issues about his involvement within the conflict with the feds on the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. , amongst others.

The Oath Keepers, based in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, is a loosely organized group fueled by conspiracy concept that recruits present and former navy, police, and first responders. It calls on its members to pledge to defend the Structure “in opposition to all enemies, overseas and home”, promotes the assumption that the federal authorities seeks to deprive residents of their civil liberties, and portrays its supporters as defenders in opposition to tyranny. .

Greater than two dozen folks related to the Oath Keepers – together with Rhodes – have been charged in reference to the January 6 assault. Rhodes and 4 different members or associates of Oath Keeper will be tried this month for seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors described as a week-long plot to maintain President Donald Trump in energy. Rhodes and the opposite Oath Keepers say they’re harmless and there was no plan to assault the Capitol.

The Oath Keepers grew quickly with the broader anti-government motion and used the instruments of the web to unfold their message throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, mentioned Rachel Carroll Rivas, appearing deputy director of analysis at Southern Poverty Legislation. Heart’s Intelligence Mission. However since Jan. 6 and Rhodes’ arrest, the group has struggled to maintain its members, she mentioned.

This was partly as a result of the Oath-Keepers had been so strongly related to Rhodes that the removing of the central determine had an outsized affect, and partly as a result of many related to the group had been typically those that wished to be seen as respectable. of their communities, she mentioned.

“The picture of being related to January 6 was an excessive amount of for lots of those folks,” she mentioned.

Among the many elected officers whose identify seems on the membership rolls is South Dakota State Rep. Phil Jensen, who gained a Republican major in June in his bid for re-election. Jensen advised the AP that he paid for a one-year membership in 2014, by no means acquired documentation from Oath Keepers, attended any conferences or renewed his membership.

Jensen mentioned he felt compelled to hitch as a result of he “believed within the oath we took to uphold the American Structure and to defend it in opposition to enemies overseas and home.” I haven’t got sufficient details about the band in the present day.

“In 2014 they appeared like a fairly stable conservative group, I am unable to speak to them now,” he mentioned.

ADL mentioned it discovered the names of a minimum of 10 individuals who now work as police chiefs and 11 sheriffs. All police and sheriff chiefs who responded to the AP mentioned they now not have any ties to the group.

“I do not even know what they publish. I by no means get updates,” mentioned Mike Hollinshead, sheriff of Elmore County in Idaho. “I do not pay dues or membership charges or something.”

Hollinshead, a Republican, mentioned he was campaigning for sheriff a number of years in the past when voters requested him if he knew of the Oath Keepers. Hollinshead mentioned he wished to know extra concerning the band and remembers paying to entry content material from the Oath Keepers web site, however that was the extent of his involvement.

Benjamin Boeke, police chief of Oskaloosa, Iowa, recalled receiving emails from the group years in the past and mentioned he thought a good friend may need signed him up. However he mentioned he by no means paid to change into a member and knew nothing concerning the band.

Idalou, Texas police chief Eric Williams additionally mentioned in an e-mail that he has not been a member or had any interplay with the Oath Keepers in additional than 10 years. He known as the seize of the Capitol “horrible in each means”.

“I pray that this nation finds its means again to civility and peace by speaking to one another,” he mentioned.

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Related Press author Lindsay Whitehurst in Washington contributed to this report.

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