A recent data leak by the Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS), a journalist non-profit devoted to enabling the free transmission of data in the public interest, has disclosed the presence of extremism among public servants in the United States. The leak revealed the involvement of law enforcement agents, public officials, military personal, and influential private sector civilians’ in the anti-government extremist hate group associated with the militia movement, the Oath Keepers.
Oath Keepers have participated in several standoffs with law enforcement in recent years. Twenty-six members were arrested in connection with the January 6 insurrection, and twelve have been charged with seditious conspiracy. Three members have pleaded guilty, and the rest are awaiting trial.
The data comes from official Oath Keeper member lists. An investigation by the American Defamation League has tracked the names and information of Oath Keeper members and their affiliations. Among the member names revealed, 373 are current law enforcement officers, 1,100 previous law enforcement officers, and 117 active military members. The number of law enforcement officers is up from seventy-six such cases in 2021.
Elected officials from across the country have also been revealed to have joined the Oath Keeper ranks, including two in Massachusetts. Former Barnstable County Commissioner seeking re-election Ron Beaty (R) and Wilbraham Republican Town Committee member David Sanders appear on the list. Several sources reached out for comment, but neither man has responded.
Massachusetts has not been immune to extremism from neo-Nazi and White supremacist hate groups. On July 2, Charles Murrell III, a Black artist in Boston, found himself locked in a violent struggle with masked men near Copley Square. Murrell had to defend himself against a group of approximately one hundred men wearing navy blue shirts and khaki pants armed with both full-body steel riot shields and wielding metal poles atop which were variations of American flags that far-right neo-Nazi movements have adopted. The altercation occurred during a pop-up march by the white nationalist and neo-fascist hate group Patriot Front. Murrell has asked Boston Mayer Michelle Wu to launch an independent investigation into the lack of police intervention at the time of his attack. No word of such an investigation has materialized.
On August 7, the hate group National Socialist Club-131 (NSC-131), gathered in Boston’s Seaport District, where Patty Bourrée was to host the Drag Queen Story Hour for children meant to educate kids on literacy. Bourrée canceled the event when she noticed the presence of the group. NSC-131, based in New England, has made several other appearances in Boston this year. They appeared at a previous story hour hosted by Bourrée, where NSC-131 leader, Christopher Hood, was arrested on one count of affray (public fighting).
In response to these threats, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Rachael Rollins has launched the “End Hate Now” hotline 1-83-END-H8-NOW (1-833-634-8669)
In an official statement, Rollins says, “[i]n Massachusetts, we have recently seen multiple incidents of groups espousing deeply offensive and hurtful ideologies displayed on our streets…[e]nough is enough. If you have serious concerns…call this number and let us know.”