Police Order Oath Keepers To Stop Guarding Ferguson Rooftops

Although Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) called in the National Guard to prepare for potential unrest in Ferguson following a grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown shooting, some local business owners and residents turned to volunteers from a group called the Oath Keepers to protect their property instead.

But St. Louis County police shut down the group’s security efforts Saturday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The Oath Keepers’ founder, Stewart Rhodes, told the newspaper that volunteers agreed to leave their posts after being threatened with arrest for operating without a license.

The group, made up of current and former law enforcement officials and military who pledge to defend the Constitution, had put out a call last week on its website asking for recruits to head to Ferguson. Rhodes told the Post-Dispatch that the people who volunteered to handle rooftop security there had “intense military, police and EMS training.”

Sam Andrews, a former Defense Department contractor who told the New York Times that he’s organized private security details for Ferguson businesses in the Oath Keepers’ name, said there were “more than five, less than 500” volunteers contributing to the effort.

Andrews told the newspaper that he had screened all the volunteers as to whether they might have “racially based motivations” for coming to Ferguson.

“I don’t want any racists in my group,” he said. “I don’t want any people who want to visit violence on any group. I only want professionals with real credentials that can be verified and have experience in dealing with violence.”

It’s unclear if the group plans to resume its activities in Ferguson.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: