According to a report from the Star-Telegram, a senior member of the rightwing paramilitary group Oath Keepers who moved to Texas in 2015 is actively recruiting local law enforcement employees while telling them a "bloody civil war" against the U.S. government is on the horizon.
The report states that John D. Shirley, the national director of the Las Vegas-based Oath Keepers finagled himself a job as a county constable in Hood County which provided him with access to other police officers and now he is using his position to recruit.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Oath Keepers organization is "one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today" with, reportedly, thousands of members made up of former law enforcement officials and military veterans.
The Star-Telegram reports that Shirley’s “Oath Keepers of Hood County” drive was scheduled at a local golf course earlier in the week before being canceled by the management because they felt the group had misrepresented itself when they booked the meeting place.
The report notes that Shirley has attempted to allay fears about the group's intentions despite claims on their own website about a coming "New World order" and antisemitic rhetoric, that goes hand-in-hand with their unyielding defense of gun ownership.
According to Shirley, in column for the online publication Hood County Today, the Oath Keepers are not "anti-government" because, as he wrote, “I am a public servant OF the government," before adding, "The U.S. Constitution, the document this organization holds as sacrosanct, is the foundational document of our GOVERNMENT.”
The report notes that local law officials say there is no policy that bans police from joining the group which has one local running for sheriff extremely concerned.
According to Vance Keyes of Fort Worth, "I am absolutely concerned about militia groups infiltrating law enforcement. Their presence in policing undermines our obligation and ability to provide impartial justice ... free from the thinly veiled, and often outright, racial bias that exist in such organizations."
He added, "They destroy sincere efforts to strengthen police/community relations in minority communities. Their anti-government rhetoric is also an affront to police professionals that take seriously their obligation to public service and the rule of law.”
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