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Friday, August 22, 2014

 
Oath Keeping Cop?

by digby

This is one of the cops shoving the media around in Ferguson:



He was appearing at an Oath Keepers meeting. They seem to like him.

Apparently he was suspended from duty today. I'm going to guess his attitudes aren't exactly unique ...

Here's an article on the Oath Keepers from a few years back:
Founded last April by Yale-educated lawyer and ex-Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes, the group has established itself as a hub in the sprawling anti-Obama movement that includes Tea Partiers, Birthers, and 912ers. Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Pat Buchanan have all sung its praises, and in December, a grassroots summit it helped organize drew such prominent guests as representatives Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, both Georgia Republicans.

There are scores of patriot groups, but what makes Oath Keepers unique is that its core membership consists of men and women in uniform, including soldiers, police, and veterans. At regular ceremonies in every state, members reaffirm their official oaths of service, pledging to protect the Constitution—but then they go a step further, vowing to disobey "unconstitutional" orders from what they view as an increasingly tyrannical government.
[...]
It was while volunteering for Ron Paul's doomed presidential bid that Rhodes decided to abandon electoral politics in favor of grassroots organizing. As an undergrad, he had been fascinated by the notion that if German soldiers and police had refused to follow orders, Hitler could have been stopped. Then, in early 2008, SWAT received a letter from a retired colonel declaring that "the Constitution and our Bill of Rights are gravely endangered" and that service members, veterans, and police "is where they will be saved, if they are to be saved at all!"

Rhodes responded with a breathless column starring a despotic president, "Hitlery" Clinton, in her "Chairman Mao signature pantsuit." Would readers, he asked, obey orders from this "dominatrix-in-chief" to hold militia members as enemy combatants, disarm citizens, and shoot all resisters? If "a police state comes to America, it will ultimately be by your hands," he warned. You had better "resolve to not let it happen on your watch." He set up an Oath Keepers blog, asking soldiers and veterans to post testimonials. Word spread. Military officers offered assistance. A Marine Corps veteran invited Rhodes to speak at a local Tea Party event. Paul campaigners provided strategic advice. And by the time Rhodes arrived in Lexington to speak at a rally staged by a pro-militia group, a movement was afoot.

Rhodes stood on the common that day before a crowd of about 400 die-hard patriot types. He spoke their language. "You need to be alert and aware to the reality of how close we are to having our constitutional republic destroyed," he said. "Every dictatorship in the history of mankind, whether it is fascist, communist, or whatever, has always set aside normal procedures of due process under times of emergency...We can't let that happen here. We need to wake up!"
Here's what Oath Keepers recommends the police should have done in Ferguson:
One retired Special Forces veteran in our group suggested that instead of grouping the police officers in large blocks (50 to 100 men), that you should break up these groups into rapid reaction teams of 20 to 25 officers and disperse them, staging them in places spread around Ferguson, with a focus on the looters, not the protesters. 
Our intelligence and police veterans concurred, and added that you should also task some officers to go out in street clothes to blend in to the crowds and work as Scouts, identifying threats and looters. The plainclothes Scouts should be directing the rapid reaction teams to protect the businesses from the ongoing crime, and refocus the police assets away from unconstitutional activities like shooting CS gas at peaceful protesters and enforcing curfews, and get to the business of putting the real criminals behind bars. 
If you think you need more minority officers for this role, you could easily find them in the St. Louis County Police Department, St. Charles County Sheriff Department, and other local municipal police departments. The plainclothes officers can identify and locate the trouble-makers and their caches and resources, such as gas cans and bottles for Molotov cocktails, bricks, etc., and they can also film the trouble-makers in support of later arrests and prosecutions.

Those plainclothes Scouts can also be directly backed up by small teams of five to seven additional plainclothes officers to take down identified looters in a manner that uses minimum force along with effective surprise applied only to the actual suspected looter. And those plainclothes small reaction teams can be further backed up by the uniformed rapid response teams, if needed, as they apprehend the looters and shooters. If possible, each officer should have a small, discrete camera – such as a badge camera – pinned to their clothing and running at all times, so that there is a recording of all that occurs...

With hundreds of criminals stealing the businesses of Ferguson blind and damaging private property, how many arrests of actual looters took place? The percentage is embarrassing (and arrests of otherwise peaceful protesters for “failure to disperse” or “failure to keep moving” don’t count). The Highway Patrol’s tactics did not work, and it is time to admit it. It was a mistake to remove St. Louis County from a command role. Instead, Governor, you should have directed them to use their considerable assets to go after the looters while respecting the right of the people to peaceably assemble.
I think they should have called in Batman, personally.

That's part of a long and rambling letter that Rhodes sent to Governor Nixon. There's a lot of agitation about looters in it. A lot. To their credit, they do say that cops shouldn't roust protesters and media. But damn, those looters need to dealt with.


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