200 Law Enforcement Officials Confirmed Oath Keepers
Militia group database shows 200 LEO's joined group which took part in violent Jan 6 insurrection
Following the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol and the process of certifying the 2020 election, a national manhunt has been on for the people and groups behind the attack. UCOMM reported on numerous people who were there during the attack.
One of the groups that helped to organize and lead the attack was a group known as the Oath Keepers. This group claims to be made up of current and former military and police officials. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) “The Oath Keepers has a long history of engaging in and promoting their own form of vigilante justice by voluntarily showing up armed to provide security for business owners. The group has made appearances during protests following police killings of black men in 2014, 2015 and 2020 and when business owners reopened against COVID-19 public health safety measures in 2020. The group has participated in multiple standoffs against government officials and claims to have patrolled polling locations allegedly to discourage and report voter fraud during the 2016 and 2020 elections.”
They formed on April 19, 2009, with a rally in Lexington, Massachusetts. They were formed by Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes, a former US Army paratrooper and Yale Law School Graduate in the wake of the election of the first black US President. According to Rhodes, the group supposedly had about 35,000 dues-paying members in 2014, most of whom have military or law enforcement experience. This would make the Oath Keepers one of the largest militia groups in the country. The main crux of the group’s ideology is that the government is engaged in attacks against its own citizens to strip them of their civil liberties. The Oath Keepers believe a conflict with the government is coming and they are training and stockpiling supplies to prepare. Some of their actions, like confronting government agents, could be seen as attempting to spark that conflict.
During Trump’s time in office, groups like the Oathkeepers, the Proud Boys, and the 3%ers not only began to come out of the shadows but gained recruitment from very public acts like taking part in the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally and taking part in numerous protests against mask rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oathkeepers were also very visible during the January 6th attack. Five Oathkeepers have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the January 6th insurrection, with more thought to be still facing charges.
With the group becoming more public and more violent, many have wondered if their local police officers are part of the group. Now a new hack has revealed some of the names of the police officers who consider themselves to be Oathkeepers. According to data collected through the recent hack and made public by the whistleblower, group Distributed Denial of Secrets, nearly 40,000 people's names, phone numbers, and email addresses have been leaked. While it is not possible to determine if all of these 40,000 have some law enforcement training about 200 of the people were identified in the documents as being active or retired law enforcement.
Included in the list were Sgt. Stuart Wohl and Officer Aniello Napoli of the NYPD. Whol, a firearms trainer, and Aniello, who works in the department’s Strategic Response Group, are both still on the job while Internal Affairs investigates. The NYPD bars its members from knowingly associating with organizations involved in criminal activity, so being a member of a group like the Oathkeepers could cost them their jobs.
“As an officer, you took an oath to protect the Constitution,” said the NYPD official. “The Oath Keepers have not been designated a terrorist grouping but members have been charged for Jan. 6 as part of a conspiracy.”
Some other law enforcement officials included:
- James Holsinger: a lieutenant with the Washington Md County Sheriff’s office and is currently running to becoming sheriff in the county. Holsinger wrote on his form to join the group that he “designed and implemented tactical rescue drills” and had “experience with an assortment of weapons (lethal and nonlethal).”
- An officer at the Louisville Metro Police Department who was involved in a shooting in 2018.
- A former U.S. Army member who joined the New York Police Department and a former U.S. Army captain who joined the Chicago Police Department. Both are still police officers there.
- An 80-year-old, part-time officer at the Ashley County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas.
- A corrections officer in Riverside, California.
- Maj. Eben Bratcher, operations chief with the Yuma County Sheriff's Office in Arizona, is among them.
- Constable Joe Wright, of Collin County Texas
Some of the 200 names were not released since media organizations could not independently verify the identity of the person in the database. When reached for comment by media sources like USA Today, many denied being currently active with the group. However, we do know that there was law enforcement at the US Capitol on January 6th with at least four active and four retired officers being arrested for their role in the Jan 6th attack. Even in New York, an NYPD Officer named Sal Greco is under investigation for providing security to Trump advisor Roger Stone during the week of the attack. Stone and Greco were in DC on January 6th. Greco also remains on active duty with the Citywide Traffic Task Force.
New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has promised a further investigation into whether any other NYPD officers are involved with the group. “When you look at the manifesto of the Oath Keepers, they’re basically telling their members to defy orders from democratically elected civilian governments...Anyone who’s claiming allegiance to the Oath Keepers is inherently denying their own oath as a police officer and they can’t serve as a police officer under that status, they just can’t,” de Blasio told WNYC host Brian Lehrer.
“We’re not going to go through all the ranks of the NYPD looking for what people’s political values are. That smacks of McCarthyism to me...But what is appropriate, if there are known databases, of course, we’ll cross-check them,” he said.