Massachusetts Police Arrest 11 Heavily Armed Militia Members After Bizarre Hours-Long Standoff

After a bizarre, hours-long standoff that saw 11 Massachusetts police officers arrest 11 men, Interstate 95 was partially shut down and an order issued for residents to stay at home. The nine-hour standoff between the tactical gear-clad men who claimed to belong to a Moorish American group lasted almost nine hours. It was eventually resolved by a combination negotiation and tactical measures, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason stated.At around 1:30 am on Saturday, a state trooper noticed two cars stopped on I-95 in Wakefield with their hazard lights on. Officer saw two men filling up their gas tanks with their own fuel, and stopped to help them. The officer saw that the men were wearing military-style uniforms, and they were also armed with long rifles or pistols. The state trooper requested backup from the police and asked the men to give identification and firearm licenses.AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementPolice said that the men claimed to belong to a group called Rise of the Moors, which does not recognize our laws. According to the website, the group describes its members to be Moorish Americans who are dedicated to teaching new Moors and influencing Elders. Officials stated that they were heading from Rhode Island to Maine to train. Mason stated that their self-confessed leader wanted to be sure that their ideology was not anti-government. We will learn more about their motivations and their ideology through our investigation.This is the scene looking northbound on Rt 95/128. Mass State Police - @MassStatePolice July 3, 2021AdvertisementWhile the standoff was ongoing, a member the militia hosted a livestream via the group's YouTube channel. He claimed that they had not violated any laws and weren't trying to cause trouble. He said that they did not intend to act hostile or aggressive. He said that they weren't anti-government or anti-police. They were also willing to share any information that is needed to continue our peaceful journey.AdvertisementExperts quickly stated that the men were likely to be followers of the Moorish Sovereign Citizens movement, which was founded in the 1990s. It is a branch of the sovereign citizens movement. The center has broad anti-government views. Adherents consider themselves to be part of a sovereign nation, and they claim that they are not subject to U.S. laws. It has been described as an extremist movement by both the Anti-Defamation League (AL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). According to Mark Pitcavage (senior research fellow at Anti-Defamation Leagues Center on Extremism), it was very lucky that nobody got hurt today.Law enforcement was not allowed to provide much detail about the group or its beliefs. I won't discuss their forum or their ideology. However, they have been very vocal on social media about their beliefs and who they are. Mason stated that I won't propagate the idea that they can decide that. Many wondered if the standoff was part a plan to make the group more known. To spread their message, these guys took over social media and mainstream media in Massachusetts. Ed Davis, ex-Boston Police Commissioner, told a local CBS affiliate. This is very unusual, unless there is a plan and if the group has thought about merging with the public. They are achieving their goal if that was their plan.