Armed males who establish as “Moors” in an hour-long battle with the police: NPR
Traffic on Interstate 95 was diverted for hours after a group of gunmen fled police near Wakefield, Massachusetts on Saturday. Eleven suspects have been arrested, according to the Massachusetts Police Department. Michael Dwyer / AP Hide caption
Michael Dwyer / AP
Michael Dwyer / AP
Eleven people were taken into custody outside Boston on Saturday after an hour-long standoff with police early Saturday.
While the police were negotiating, members of the group engaged the public on social media, saying their group was called the “Rise of the Moors”.
The heavily armed men are said to have driven from Rhode Island to Maine for “training”.
The incident began around 1:30 a.m. when state police noticed two cars pulling up on the side of I-95 near Wakefield, Massachusetts, apparently with no fuel. When the soldiers stopped to help, they noticed that some people near the cars were wearing “military” equipment and carrying long guns and pistols, Col. Christopher Mason of the Massachusetts State Police told reporters.
“You can imagine that eleven armed people standing on a freeway at 2am with long guns are sure to raise concerns and are inconsistent with the firearms laws we have in Massachusetts,” Mason said.
The police asked for reinforcements and started a stalemate that lasted several hours. The men refused to lower their guns and said they “do not recognize our laws,” police said. Some of the armed men fled to a nearby wooded area, police said, and part of I-95 was closed for several hours.
The stalemate was broadcast on social media
At around 4 a.m., a man identified by the Boston Globe as Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey said he was broadcasting live from I-95 and said he had told police they had nothing to fear.
“I assured them that we are not sovereign citizens,” a man who appeared to be Bey said on a live streaming video. “I assured them that we are not black extremists. I assured them that we are not against the police. I assured them that we are not against the government. I have assured them that these men will not point guns at them, I assured them that we will try to find a peaceful solution. “
“We’re going to our private land to exercise, which is our second amendment,” he said, showing a vehicle that he said contained camping gear.
When tactical police teams brought in armored vehicles to encircle the area and negotiators interacted with the men, they eventually surrendered. Middlesex County’s District Attorney Marian Ryan told reporters the suspects are expected to appear in court Tuesday morning.
The state police “have no knowledge of this particular group” but as the state police “it is not uncommon for us to encounter people with sovereign civic ideologies – I’m not saying this group does – but we have had these” encounters in the past ” said Mason at a press conference Saturday morning.
“We train for these encounters,” Mason continued. “We understand the philosophy behind this way of thinking very well. And we actually train our officers at the Academy in these interactions and how to de-escalate those situations and how to work with people who have that philosophy and mindset and are determined to “make those situations in a peaceful way.”
The group is called “Rise of the Moors”
The same man who appears to be Bey said in a later video, “They continue to portray us as anti-government, but we are not anti-government at all.”
On the group’s website, Bey is listed as the leader of the Rhode Island State Republic and Providence Plantations. According to the website, Bey served in the military for four years, some or all of the time, after which he began to study “Moorish Science”.
The website “Rise of the Moors” explains that Moors are not “sovereign citizens” because “sovereignty does not stand alone” but can be seen as a synonym for “nationality”.
“The records show that the Moors are the organic or original rulers of this land – America,” the FAQ reads. “When we declare our nationality as Moorish-Americans, we are taking back our position as indigenous people in the country that has sovereign power.”
Bey’s group could be linked to the Moorish sovereign citizen movement, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an offshoot of the anti-government sovereign citizen movement. Moorish sovereigns “have come into conflict with federal and state authorities for refusing to obey laws and government regulations,” writes the SPLC.
“The Moorish Sovereign Movement is a rapidly growing group of people who believe they belong to a sovereign nation that has a treaty with the United States but otherwise operates outside of federal and state law,” said JJ MacNab, George Washington Program Fellow University on Extremism, explained on Twitter.
“They rely on an alternate story borrowing from the Moorish Temple of Science, Black Hebrew Israelism, the Nation of Islam, UFO theories, false Indian tribes, and the pseudo-legal arguments of the white supremacist ‘patriot’ groups in the 1970s . ”Said.