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.
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.