Oath Keepers in Ferguson were kicked off the rooftops where they had positioned themselves to help protect private businesses. The armed men have reportedly been threatened with arrest for their activities.
Ferguson private businesses, at least 12 of them, were burned entirely to the ground in the wake of the Darren Wilson decision in the Michael Brown shooting case. Although the Oath Keepers are now gone from the rooftops, they are remaining in the St. Louis suburb to protest the riots and looting.
The group is reportedly comprised primarily of current and former military, police, and firefighters. Oath Keepers offered free security services to Ferguson businesses in danger of looting and arson during the riots. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, two rioters physically accosted a female Ferguson Papa John's manager when she attempted to stop them from looting her place of business.
Early last week, police officers questioned the Oath Keepers in Ferguson, and allowed them to stay, according to a report in the Daily Mail. But as racial tensions in the wake of the Darren Wilson decision increased, St. Louis County Police ordered the Oath Keepers to remove themselves from the rooftops of Ferguson businesses, and threatened to arrest group members for acting as a security service without a license.
Sam Andrews, 50, is a former Defense Department contractor who currently works as a weapons engineer in St. Louis. When he woke up one morning to his wife watching a Ferguson bakery being vandalized on the news, his beloved turned to him and said, "You've got to go help her." So Andrews "accelerated plans" within the Oath Keepers group to recruit and organize private security protection details in Ferguson.
"It's really a broad group of citizens, and I'm sure their motivations are all different," Andrews said when describing the Oath Keepers group. "In many of them, there's probably a sense of patriotism. But I think in most of them, there's probably something that they probably don't even recognize: that we have a moral obligation to protect the weakest among us. When we see these violent people, these arsonists and anarchists, attacking, it just pokes at you in a deep place."
"When we hear information that someone, or a group, is providing security without a license, our department has to investigate the issue," St. Louis County Police representative Shawn McGuire told the New York Times.
South Florissant Road dentist Victor Clark said he was happy to have the Oath Keepers in Ferguson during the Michael Brown shooting protests.
During the riots after the Darren Wilson decision, Clark has the front door and windows destroyed by looters and had dental needs and anesthetic stolen. When the Oath Keepers came calling, the Ferguson dentist turned over the keys to his business.
"We didn't know much about them, but we got a feeling of trust. You have to do something to protect our building," Dr. Clark told the local media. "When they're here, there's definitely a weight lifted off our shoulders. I'd be lying if I said otherwise."
What do you think about the activities of the Oath Keepers in Ferguson?
[Image via: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]