The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Georgia Oath Keeper Charged After Attempting ‘Citizen’s Arrest’

By Hatewatch Staff on May 7, 2010 - 7:50 am, Posted in Patriot Groups

When Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last October, he argued that the newly formed, rapidly growing “Patriot” group was no threat to anybody – just a collection of police officers and military types who pledge to defend the Constitution and to disobey unconstitutional orders from their superiors. On the group’s website, it identifies such orders as rounding up U.S. citizens, taking their guns and forcing them into detention camps.

“We’re not talking about asking them to go fight,” said Rhodes. “We’re simply saying, Don’t fight.” He then added, “Don’t fight the people.”

One Oath Keeper in Georgia, however, decided to go beyond just disobeying orders. He’s been accused of plotting to take over a Tennessee courthouse and put two dozen officials under “citizen’s arrest.”

Darren Huff has been charged with “traveling in interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot and transporting in commerce a firearm in furtherance of a civil disorder,” according to a news report. Huff has been accused of traveling to Tennessee last month, armed with a pistol and an assault rifle, with the goal of placing 24 federal, state and local officials under arrest at a courthouse in Madisonville.

Huff, driving a black pickup emblazoned with the Oath Keepers logo, was pulled over by the Tennessee Highway Patrol on traffic violations. His goal, apparently, was to prevent another man from facing trial for earlier attempting a citizen’s arrest. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick was accused of trying to place a grand jury foreman under citizen’s arrest on April 1. According to Talking Points Memo, Fitzpatrick walked into the courthouse in Madisonville, Tenn., on April 1 and approached the foreman. “I’m charging you with official misconduct,” Fitzpatrick calmly said. “I’m placing you under arrest. You must now come with me.”

Apparently, Fitzpatrick, a retired Navy commander who is a leader in the group American Grand Jury (AGJ), targeted the grand jury foreman because he refused to investigate President Obama for fraud. The AGJ seeks to indict Obama for treason on the grounds that he is not a U.S. citizen. Fitzpatrick was charged with disorderly conduct, inciting to riot, disrupting a meeting and resisting arrest, according to the news report.

Authorities believe Huff didn’t want Fitzpatrick to stand trial, sparking the ill-conceived trip to Tennessee. But officials were already on the lookout.

A bank manager interviewed by the FBI said Huff told him in April that Fitzpatrick was falsely arrested. The bank manager also said that Huff said he was in the Georgia Militia and there was a plan for eight or nine militia groups to “take over the city” of Madisonville on April 20, according to the news report.

Huff was interviewed by FBI agents at his home on April 19. He told the agents he planned to travel to Tennessee to get Fitzpatrick’s charges dropped. He said he’d be taking his hand gun and AK-47 rifle with him. Huff assured the agents there would be no violence unless he was provoked.

On April 20, there were numerous reports by officers in Madisonville of people near the courthouse carrying firearms. After FBI agents spotted Huff leaving his home that morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled him over for traffic violations. The officers said Huff told them he planned to take over the courthouse in Madisonville and make citizen’s arrests against “domestic enemies of the United States engaged in treason.”

News of Huff’s exploits has rippled across Patriot websites. At sipseystreetirregulars, longtime Alabama militiaman Mike Vanderboegh, who is now the leader of the Three Percenters group, noted that Huff is a Christian Identity minister. Christian Identity is an anti-Semitic and racist theology.

Vanderboegh used that bit of information to argue that any adherent of Christian Identity is not a true Oath Keeper because one cannot uphold the Constitution’s promises of equality and adhere to racist beliefs. One poster on Vanderboegh’s site said he had served in the Georgia Militia with Huff and disagreed with Huff’s beliefs. He also acknowledged Huff was the group’s chaplain. Another poster disputed the description of Huff’s beliefs.

The Georgia Militia website includes an announcement of the removal of the group’s chaplain, but no name is provided. It notes “any member that creates negative attention from law enforcement will immediately be removed from the Georgia Militia.” Nevertheless, the prospect of the Patriot movement mixing with such elements has raised concerns. “It’s going to get more and more difficult to tell friend from foe, to know truth from ‘friction,’” said one poster.

  • Dan

    OATH KEEPERS: ORDERS WE WILL NOT OBEY
    Click here to read full length version.
    1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
    2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people
    3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
    4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
    5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
    6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
    7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
    8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control.”
    9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
    10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

  • http://mavigozler.awardspace.info/ mavigozler

    Any “oath keeper” who dares execute a citizen’s arrest against me or others based merely on differing political ideologies will be accused by me (and hopefully other victims) of attempted false imprisonment as well as a an attempt to deny me my civil rights. It’s time to fight fire with fire against the pathologically disturbed extreme right.

    While I remember members of the extreme left making empty threats regarding Bush, Cheney, and their nutty right-wing supporters when they held sway and were running this country into the ground, it was all bark and no bite.

    But right-wing lunatics are not just barking dogs. They are truly dangerous attack animals, and need to be leashed.

  • beholder

    I’m not a great fan of police methods in the Dirty South as a rule, but I must say it was satisfying to see this unruly gentleman frog marched into custody.

  • barry pultz

    Where is “Geno”lately??? ( previous poster) , I enjoyed his provocative insights

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Biggest Right Wing Wacko killing on US soil(not counting foreign right wingers): Oklahoma City Bombing, 168 killed, second largest terrorist attack on US soil.

    Who wants to supply the worst left-wing attack on US soil, seeing as how some people here demand that left-wingers be covered too?

  • Jim Carlson

    I think it’s time for the various patriot and militia groups to seriously consider giving prospective members IQ tests. Triple digits required.

  • Kate De Braose

    Just another aging gang member, no doubt. What I resent the most is how often men (who want revenge for something long past) turn to the use of force against unarmed people. Isn’t it interesting that they also use the Prince of Peace as their excuse for violence?

  • Larry D. Morse

    I wonder what other organizations Mr. Huff was a member of? Lions Club, Masons, Knights of Columbus? I wonder.

  • texascotsman

    In Texas I know that you can only place somebody under citizens arrest if YOU witness them committing a felony or a Class A/B misdeamenor. You must then turn them over into the custody of a Peace Officer within a reasonable amount of time. I’m sure that those laws apply everywhere.

    So he was pretty much doomed from the start, since he most likley wasn’t going to turn those people over to the local police when he made his “citizens arrest”.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Oath Keepers = Shallow Gene Pool (SGP)

  • Todd

    Sounds like a right wing whacko.

    Question.

    Does this publication cover left wing whackos?

  • Snorlax

    Spiny Norman said, “So were these dudes aligned with the Judean People’s Front, or the People’s Front of Judea?”

    Prepare the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch!!

  • Snorlax

    I hope this chases all law enforcement officers and active duty military OUT of Oath Keepers.

    I predict that having Oath Keepers on your record will get in the way of your career in the future. You might end up a beat cop until retirement with no promotion or better job.

    SPLC has done an excellent job of connecting the dots between Oath Keepers and the far right. This latest incident further proves that Oath Keepers are whackos.

  • Tezuka fan

    @ The giant hedgehog harassing Dinsdale,

    Neither.

    … Shortest Hatewatch post I’ve ever made.

  • http://spinynorman.tumblr.com Spiny Norman

    So were these dudes aligned with the Judean People’s Front, or the People’s Front of Judea?

  • skinnyminny

    What I don’t understand is why wasn’t he taken into custody on April 19th! At least he could have been taken into the hospital psychiatric ward for 72-hour hold, actually! What I also don’t understand is “there would be no violence unless they provoke me,” is this a joke? Did law enforcement think this man would come to his senses? Gee, I’ve read up on the sovereign citizens, militia groups, patriot groups…on the SPLC website, what he said was nothing new – some of these guys truly believe they can put liens on judges personal property, etc.

  • Mike

    More like constitutional bigots!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Ah the follies of amateur constitutional scholars.