An Ohio family says they were harassed by Oath Keepers security and ordered to pay $10 to walk through a mall , while the right-wing militia group hosted a show there, according to Raw Story.
In a letter to the editor of the Sentinel-Tribune, Amanda Sharp said she was visiting Woodland Mall on Sunday with her 4-year-old son and his father when men identifying themselves as Oath Keepers security guards stopped them and demanded money.
The security guards said they had to radio ahead for approval for the family to walk from the movie theater to the main entrance and then stalked them when they refused to pay admission to a survivalist event they were not attending.
“When my child’s father stated that we were leaving and did not require anyone’s permission to do so, we were followed across the food court by ‘security’ the entire time, and he was giving our descriptions over his radio,” Sharp wrote.
“This was insulting, unnecessary, and was absolutely harassment,” Sharp said. “Not only were these so-called Oath Keepers harassing us, they frightened my special needs son. This is completely unacceptable. For an organized group of people who claim to want to defend against infringement of their rights, they certainly had no qualms violating mine.”
The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today. While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans, according to The Southern Poverty Law Center.
“If this organization or business wants to hold events, fine,” Sharp said. “However, when doing so in an open public building, do not harass and stalk families who are there to enjoy family time.”
The Oath Keepers gained attention in 2015, when some members patrolled Ferguson, Missouri, as protests raged over the police shooting death of Michael Brown, and some demonstrators felt targeted by the armed group, according to Raw Story.
Nick Getzinger, executive director for Ohio, told the Sentinel-Tribune his group has no connection to the national Oath Keepers group and was not a militia.
“We are not an anti-government organization, we believe in a constitutional government,” Getzinger said. “We are a community response organization and we will work closely with local governments, law enforcement and others in times of crisis, whether its natural or man-made.”
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)