Ferguson businesses – the ones that are still standing – brought in local militias this week to protect their property from violent protesters, looters and arsonists.
The militia volunteers were members of the Oathkeepers, an organization founded in 2009 to protect the Constitution and individual rights.
One woman was very upset that the members were guarding a Ferguson business. The woman actually says it’s wrong for the militia to protect other people’s property.
“It’s not a joke, I’m sorry. It’s not about intentionality(?) This is somebody else’s property, not even yours. And, you’re volunteering too. You’re not even being paid… It’s unacceptable. It’s diabolical. It’s sinful.”
Ferguson police forced the Oathkeepers off of the rooftops on Saturday after complaints by protesters.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:
They are volunteers affiliated with a 35,000-member national organization called Oath Keepers. Yale Law School graduate and libertarian Stewart Rhodes said by telephone from Montana that he founded the group in 2009 to protect constitutional rights, including those of protesters confronted by what he described as overly militarized police.
Police questioned group members early in the week and allowed them to stay. But Saturday, after media inquiries, St. Louis County police officers ordered the Oath Keepers to leave the rooftops.
Threatened with arrest for operating without a license, the volunteers argued but eventually left their positions early Saturday, Rhodes said.
“We are going to go back as protesters,” Rhodes said Saturday afternoon.
Rhodes, who said he is Mexican-American, stressed that Oath Keepers is not anti-government. He said the volunteers handling rooftop security in Ferguson were current or former government employees and first responders, many who have intense military, police and EMS training.