After serving only half of his already minimal sentence, Brock Turner, who was convicted of the sexual assault of an unconscious woman while attending Stanford University, returned to his family’s home in Bellbrook, Ohio. Turner did not only return home as a sex offender, but received a not-so-warm welcome from about a dozen armed protesters who also carried signs calling for the castration and killing of all rapists. A number of anarchists also stated that they would make repeat visits to the home to make Brock feel “uncomfortable in his own home.”
The protesters who gathered with assault rifles claim they did so as a criticism of the light sentence the convicted received and to additionally share their outrage. Daniel Hardin, who carried an M4 assault rifle, spoke on behalf of the group in an interview, as The Guardian relays.
“With an extremely lenient sentence, he can think ‘I can get away with this. The message we want to send is … ‘If you try this again, we will shoot you.'”
Turner, a 21-year-old former swimmer at Stanford, was caught assaulting an unconscious woman by a dumpster outside a frat party on January 2015. The jury found the accused guilty on a number of felonies, yet Judge Aaron Persky spared Turner a sentence of prison time and instead only sentenced him to six months in a county jail.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 6, 2016
The sentencing along with the powerful statement of the victim made headlines worldwide and a campaign to recall the judge was initiated. Since this point, Persky has removed himself from trying criminal cases.
Michael Phelps is an Ex swimmer.
Brock Turner is a rapist.
— Cole Ledford (@ColeLedford11) September 6, 2016
Turner was hounded by a mob of cameras and media members when he was released after only three months for good behavior. On Tuesday, Turner was also met with a crowd of reporters upon arriving at the local sheriff’s office for the purpose of registering as a sex offender.
Holding an AR-15 rifle at the rally, James Campbell, who had organized the action outside Turner’s house, stated that he wanted to see the protests “impede Turner’s life.”
“‘He should not be able to go to jail for three months … and then just live his life normally,’ said Campbell, 22, who lives nearby in Huber Heights. ‘We want to let him know that people aren’t just going to forget about what he did.'”
A number of protesters admitted to being a part of many anarchist rallies in Ohio where it is legal to carry a gun openly. Micah Naziri, a 39-year-old who assisted in the organization of the rally, shared about the message they hope to send by showing up armed at the house of the convicted.
“‘The number one reason why we had this armed protest was to make a militant feminist statement in favor of self-defense of would-be rape victims. It was very much a political statement,’ added Naziri, who carried a .300 Blackout rifle. ‘It wasn’t a death threat to Brock Turner.'”
Daniel Hardin went on to state how they would be there to protect people of the city from Turner.
“If he were to try something like this again … we would help protect the city. We are not going to stand for it.”
The protesters went on to say that they and other anarchists will make it an unannounced routine to show up at the Turner house.
“‘We don’t want to give them warning so they can leave and have a nice dinner,’ said Daniel, a 26-year-old forklift driver. ‘We want him to feel uncomfortable in his own home. Anarchists believe in peaceful protest and defensive violence only.'”
Those who criticize Turner and Persky have argued against the strategy taken by protesters and insist that activists should put their energy toward seeing that the judge be unseated.
[Photo by Stephen Lam/AP Images]