The militia organization Oath Keepers intends to arm 50 African American protesters with AR-15 assault rifles in Ferguson, Missouri. The group says that doing so is a demonstration against an order that law enforcement in the city gave for members of the militia to keep their weapons put away while inside of city limits.
“Every person we talked to said if they carried, they’d be shot by police,” Sam Andrews, the leader of the Oath Keepers in St. Louis County, said. “That’s the reason we’re going to hold this event, and it will be a legal demonstration. I’m sick and tired of law enforcement who doesn’t [sic] think they have to abide by the law. They’re narcissistic and that guy [Colonel Jon Belmar, Chief of Police, St. Louis County] discredited my men.”
According to county officials, the Oath Keepers have been an unwelcome presence in the community.
“Their presence was both unnecessary and inflammatory,” Chief Belmar said.
Andrews contends that that Oath Keepers have had a peaceful influence on the community.
“Before we got there, there had been 155 arrests and 57 shots fired,” said Andrews. “Once we got there with the reporters, there was not another shot fired and no arrests. The same thing occurred the next night. We changed the dynamic in Ferguson.”
The Oath Keepers have explained that they intend to arm the demonstrators and encircle them as protection. They claim it will be an event of historical importance on the level of civil rights marches in the past or important military victories.
“It will be an iconic event,” said Andrews.