The Oath Keepers are a far-right paramilitary organization described by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as "large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."
The militia specifically markets to law enforcement officials and U.S. Military veterans for membership, and regularly descends on racial justice protests to intimidate participants, most notably in Ferguson, Missouri in 2015 after the murder of Michael Brown.
When extremist supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol this past January, several of the militia's members were present, and—according to subsequent indictments—stormed the premises "in an organized and practiced fashion." Correspondence between members shows they were "actively planning to use force and violence" on the day of the joint congressional session acknowledging then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
With the Capitol Riots bringing greater public awareness to the Oath Keepers, one of its leaders—Jim Arroyo—is now bragging about the participation of "active duty law enforcement" in the militia.
Arroyo said in an interview with 60 Minutes:
"Our guys are very experienced. We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement and in fact, in a lot of cases, our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds."
Arroyo's comments come at a time when the United States is reckoning with its enshrinement of racist violence and subjugation through its law enforcement systems, following widespread public backlash against the murder of 20 year old Daunte Wright by Officer Kim Potter, the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and the Chicago Police Department's release of the murder of 13 year old Adam Toledo.
While Arroyo's boast of active duty law enforcement participants is certainly alarming, many weren't surprised—viewing his comments as yet another confirmation of the brokenness of America's current law enforcement and justice systems.
Mass media will give a large platform to white supremacists who are telling everyone of their collaboration with la… https://t.co/1khCe3ickW— DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES (@DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES)1618802181.0
Police are murdering Black people all over the country while also actively helping the Oath Keepers. And you wonde… https://t.co/3bDHYBdLBG— Young Daddy (@Young Daddy)1618803497.0
We know. https://t.co/8Zr4MFdNnd— G O L D I E. (@G O L D I E.)1618796182.0
The police/military <—> white supremacists organizations link is a time honored American tradition. I’m not as worr… https://t.co/zOZL7DUcwl— Dr. Trevon D Logan (@Dr. Trevon D Logan)1618829525.0
People are calling for an immediate purge of all law enforcement officials found to have ties with the Oath Keepers.
They are terrorists. This is why POC have targets on their backs. The officers need to get weeded out fired, stripe… https://t.co/qdaZh2xZs9— unicorn wrangler (@unicorn wrangler)1618839857.0
Anyone in Law Enforcement willing to train insurrectionists to fight like Law Enforcement against our government ha… https://t.co/j5q3htMqyH— Jen Hansen 🏳️🌈 (@Jen Hansen 🏳️🌈)1618794822.0
The Oath Keepers claim to have around 35 thousand members, though federal officials believe the number is actually less than 5 thousand.