Hundreds of U.S. law enforcement officers, including police chiefs, are on a list of members of the far-right "Oath Keepers" militia published by the Anti-Defamation League—a list that also includes elected politicians, serving military and other officials.
The Associated Press reports:
The data raises fresh concerns about the presence of extremists in law enforcement and the military who are tasked with enforcing laws and protecting the U.S. It's especially problematic for public servants to be associated with extremists at a time when lies about the 2020 election are fueling threats of violence against lawmakers and institutions. "Even for those who claimed to have left the organization when it began to employ more aggressive tactics in 2014, it is important to remember that the Oath Keepers have espoused extremism since their founding, and this fact was not enough to deter these individuals from signing up," the report says. Appearing in the Oath Keepers' database doesn't prove that a person was ever an active member of the group or shares its ideology. Some people on the list contacted by The Associated Press said they were briefly members years ago and are no longer affiliated with the group.
It's interesting seeing elected officials recoil from far-right associations. All is not yet lost! But that's a big latent army of people signed up to steer their institutions toward violence—some of which, especially Sheriff's departments, are well aligned with far-right extremism as it is.
Among the elected officials whose name appears on the membership lists is South Dakota state Rep. Phil Jensen, who won a June Republican primary in his bid for reelection. Jensen told the AP he paid for a one-year membership in 2014 but never received any Oath Keepers' literature, attended any meetings or renewed his membership.
The Oath Keepers are obsessed with conspiracy theories, armed violence and Microsoft Paint-tier patriotic symbolism. While it claims to reject racism, white supremacy and authoritarianism, its guns point the same way as local authorities' whenever unrest occurs, members who didn't get the memo are purged, and no-one is fooled.