Man In Militia Plot To Kidnap Michigan Governor Shared Stage With Extremist Sheriff

Disturbing, to say the least…

One of the men charged this week in a militia plot to [kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan shared the stage earlier this year with an extremist sheriff at an anti-lockdown rally, highlighting the often cozy relationship across America between law enforcement and violent right-wing paramilitary groups.

After the arrests, Fox17 reported that the Null was among the armed attendees of a May rally in Grand Rapids, MI

Fox17 footage of Null appearing onstage at the rally, carrying a long gun and standing alongside Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf as the sheriff lashed out at Whitmer in a speech to the crowd.
In a shocking interview with Fox 17 on Thursday, Leaf said he had no regrets for having appeared at the rally with the recently arrested militiaman. He added that he knew Null — as well as his identical twin, Michael, who was also arrested in the terror plot — and called the brothers “nice” and “respectful.” He also appeared to defend the Nulls’ motive for the alleged kidnapping plot, arguing that there’s a legal argument to be made that Whitmer should be arrested for imposing coronavirus restrictions.

What Leaf did not address in his Fox 17 interview, however, is his membership in the right-wing extremist “constitutional sheriffs” movement — a close ally of America’s armed militias — that has gained a concerning momentum during the era of President Donald Trump.

Leaf, according to a database created by the social justice think tank Political Research Associates, attended the 2019 conference of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

The CSPOA is the flagship organization of the constitutional sheriff’s movement, which maintains that sheriffs are the ultimate law-enforcement authority in their respective counties, outranking officials from the federal or state government. Constitutional sheriffs are part of the broader antigovernment “patriot” movement in the U.S., which is animated by a multitude of conspiracy theories about immigrants, Muslims, Jews, gun control measures, and a coming “New World Order.”

The CSPOA also has a close working relationship with armed far-right paramilitary groups. Among those who attended the 2019 CSPOA conference with Leaf was Stewart Rhodes, leader of the national militia organization the Oath Keepers.

I don’t think the guy should be in law enforcement.

"Sheriff Dar Leaf, of Barry County in Western Michigan, said in a television interview Thursday that the scheme may have just amounted to a “citizen’s arrest.” Mr. Leaf, who has been a vocal critic of Ms. Whitmer’s shutdown orders and has said he won’t enforce the rules she imposed, shared a stage with one of the suspects at an anti-lockdown meeting in May that also featured the State Senate majority leader, Mike Shirkey, a Republican.

“A lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested. So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt?” he asked. He later said his words were misunderstood.

Ms. Nessel said Sheriff Leaf’s comments were terrifying.

“To think that there is a group of sheriffs out there who truly believe that it’s appropriate for armed gunmen to perpetrate a citizens’ arrest should alarm us all,” she said. “Logic seems to have really escaped us. Come January, I hope we see a change in circumstances.”"

How common is this?

I keep hearing reports that white supremacists have infiltrated law enforcement.

Racism may not be encoded into law but if the people who are charged with enforcing the law are racist, then racism can be systemic.

" In case you’re not sufficiently shaken by the fact that the President* of the United States gave white supremacists a shoutout during Tuesday night’s conflagration, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland on Tuesday released an unredacted copy of an FBI intelligence report from 2006 revealing white-supremacist infiltration of local law enforcement."

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The new violence is being traced back to Trump’s rhetoric.

"The arrest of more than a dozen right-wing extremists who are accused of targeting the governors of Michigan and Virginia is only the latest example of threats of violence, in some cases egged on by President Trump, that loom over the final weeks of a historically divisive race.

In rural Iowa, Laura Hubka, the Democratic chair of Howard County, recently took out a concealed-carry gun permit after signs for Democratic candidates in her region were vandalized with bullet holes and she was personally threatened, she said.

In central Wisconsin, Tom Stepanek’s wife sat him down last month at the kitchen table and warned him that the president might not accept a peaceful transfer of power if he lost in November. “Are you sure you want to be doing this?” she asked her husband, who is the chair of the Waushara County Democrats and had also been threatened. “You’re going to be a target here,” she told him.

In Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Burdick, a Trump supporter who owns a gun store with her husband in red-hued Mercer County, said, “Sales have been crazy.”

“People are afraid,” she said. “They’re afraid of what’s going to happen” after the election if Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, wins.

With polls showing the president behind Mr. Biden nationally and in key states, Mr. Trump has descended into rants about perceived enemies, both inside and outside his administration, triggering in his staunchest supporters such fears for the outcome — possibly a “stolen” election, maybe a coup by the far left — that he is emboldening them to disrupt the voting process, according to national security experts and law enforcement officials…

“It’s so concerning the president just doesn’t seem to have any kind of guard rails between what he thinks at the spur of the moment and what he says or writes,” said Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of homeland security. “We’ve seen it in the rise of these right-wing militia groups and it’s almost as if implicitly he’s giving them permission to take whatever action they want up to and including kidnapping a sitting governor…

After Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., told a House panel last month that white supremacists made up the bulk of lethal domestic terrorism threats, Mr. Trump complained about the assessment to associates, according to two people briefed on those conversations.

“Trump, in my judgment, is emboldening the extremist right by conferring legitimacy on right wing extremist individuals and groups,” said Carrie Cordero, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a former national security lawyer with the Justice Department.”

What’s the big deal ? The guys got caught and they were arrested.

The need to somehow connect it to Trump.

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