Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook followed up with Oath Keepers president Stewart Rhodes to provide an update on the Oath Keepers’ presence in Ferguson.
Cook asked Rhodes, “What is the media getting wrong about your group?”
“One of the first things they said was that our presence was inflammatory,” answered Rhodes. “And it’s quite the opposite. There were actually no shots fired and interesting enough, no arrests made while our guys were on the streets. And we protected several black owned businesses again like we did last year.”
“The point of us being there is, (a), lead by example and show the people of Ferguson this is how you prevent arson, this is how you protect against looting, etc. And (b), protect your community so that you don’t have this false choice that’s being presented to the American people- that the only way to stop arson and looters is to trample on the First Amendment Rights of the protesters or to have a hyper-militarized police state. The American people are being given a false choice,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes said that there have been increased instances of business owners more actively protecting their property during the unrest. “There’s a growing number of businesses doing exactly what we did, stand up and do what the police can’t do. The police cannot or will not protect the people’s actual businesses from the looters and arsonists. The best answer is for the folks in Ferguson to do it themselves, it takes away that false choice,” said Rhodes.
Cook asked Rhodes about his thoughts on St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar’s comments about his group’s presence being “unnecessary” and “inflammatory.” Rhodes responded that their presence has actually had a “calming” effect and many of the protesters realized who the Oath Keepers were and that their presence was meant for protection.
“I think Chief Belmar, like all too many police officers, have this idea that only the police should have firearms. It’s a threat to their turf. It’s a turf battle. He’s kind of a small minded man and looks at it like that,” said Rhodes.
“What we are doing is leading by example. And we want to see the people of Ferguson to stand up for themselves and take care of their own security so they won’t need a heavy police presence.” said Rhodes.
“Frankly they need a new police of chief there,” said Rhodes. “I think a lot of the problems go away with better leadership.”
Cook asked about the criticism Oath Keepers have received for offering to protect independent journalists while major media outlets have provided themselves with security teams. “If you’re a mainstream media journalist with a professional security team, that’s okay. But if you’re alternative media like Alex Jones or some other small group who has us along to help protect them, then it’s somehow extreme. So it’s a double standard, it is,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes advised that “the people themselves need to step up and take care of their own neighborhoods and suppress the thugs. The few thugs who are causing the problems, it’s up to the experienced veterans in Ferguson to step up.”
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