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Oath Keepers plan unique demonstration with assault rifles in Ferguson

Robert Cohen / St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Oath Keepers made their presence known in Ferguson, Missouri this week.
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Leader claims police chief doesn't understand Missouri's open carry law

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Missouri Oath Keepers leader and his squad will test state law with a unique experiment by arming 50 blacks with AR-15 rifles while marching through downtown Ferguson, Mo., Red Dirt Report has learned.

Sam Andrews, head of an Oath Keepers group in St. Louis County, Mo., confirmed the event will occur within the next “couple of weeks” to demonstrate to local enforcement officials the meaning and intent of Missouri’s open carry law.

“It will be an iconic event,” he said, comparing it to the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima or the Martin Luther King, Jr.-led March on Washington, D.C.

Andrews said the 50 African-Americans armed with assault rifles will be surrounded by Oath Keepers members.

Andrews was inspired to hold the event after being told by St. Louis County law enforcement officials that Oath Keepers members could not carry long-barrel rifles in city limits. Oath Keepers members had traveled to Ferguson, Mo., at the request of two journalists covering the one-year anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting, which garnered nationwide attention about police brutality and racism in America.

The journalists, Joe Biggs and Jakari Jackson of, reportedly asked Andrews to provide security while covering the anniversary and concurrent protests, which included arrests and gunfire. The journalists publicly said they made no such request and did not hire Oath Keepers to protect them from Ferguson protesters.

While in Ferguson, however, Oath Keepers were confronted by St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar who clashed briefly with the group over the state’s open carry law. The conversation was videotaped and placed on YouTube.

“My only problem is with the long guns and inciting these guys out here,” Belmar said, referring to the Ferguson protesters.

When asked specifically about the state’s open carry law, the chief said, “I have attorneys. I didn’t go to law school. I get what you guys stand for and probably agree with most of it. All I’m trying to do is manage this thing.”

At one point in the video, Andrews told Belmar, “We would like for you to respect the state law.”

Andrews told Red Dirt Report Oath Keepers from several different states, including Oklahoma, joined him in Ferguson to protect the journalists.”

At the end of the video, Belmar said, “I don’t want anything salacious or provocative” happening.

Andrews felt obligated to protect the journalists because two other reporters from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The New York Times were beaten by protesters. The Oath Keepers were armed with handguns and long-barrel rifles.

“At least my men know how to use them,” he said. “He (Belmar) was thumbing his nose at the legislature of the State of Missouri. It was like he couldn’t give a crap about the Bill of Rights or state law.”

Andrews claimed he and the other Oath Keepers spent an entire night talking to African-American protestors about the situation in Ferguson and their Second Amendment right to bear arms. He said Oath Keepers never encountered any violence or profane language during their stay in Ferguson.

“Every person we talked to said if they carried they’d be shot by police. That’s the reason we’re going to hold this event and it will be a legal demonstration,” he said. “I’m sick and tired of law enforcement who doesn’t think they have to abide by the law. They’re narcissistic and that guy (Belmar) discredited my men.”

Andrews said most of the Oath Keepers who joined him in Ferguson are current or former military, including some who were in special operations units.

According to Andrews, the presence of Oath Keepers helped quell the violence in Ferguson.

“Before we got there, there had been 155 arrests and 57 shots fired. Once we got there with the reporters, there was not another shot fired and no arrests. The same thing occurred the next night. We changed the dynamic in Ferguson.”

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Tim Farley

Tim Farley is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience, including...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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