‘Have These Folks By no means Attended College?’

A few weeks ago, Right Wing Watch previewed a training session Richard Mack and his Association of Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Workers were hosting at a resort near Houston on February 27th and 27th. Since then, Mack has posted a video of the event saying, “When the spirit of freedom is in your room, the Spirit of God is in your room and that is exactly what happened.”

Mack was an organizer of the armed conflict between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal officials in 2014. CSPOA teaches law enforcement officers that “the power of the sheriff replaces even the power of the president,” it says on its website.

CSPOA’s promotional materials said the conference was an “official” training event for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and that sheriffs and other law enforcement officers would “receive credit for attending.” In his most recent video, Mack said that of about 200 attendees, more than 100 were civil servants or former officers, including sheriffs from Nevada, North Dakota, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Washington state – and about 40 from Texas.

Sheriffs “left this conference more to dedicate themselves to the sacred cause of freedom, to become more involved in the sacred cause of freedom, and to devote themselves more to protecting the rights of the people in their individual counties,” said Mack.

One attendee, Real County Sheriff Nathan Johnson, told the John Birch Society’s New American Magazine that he refused to enforce the state’s masking mandate and said the CSPOA was helping sheriffs “who need a mechanism to thwart tyranny.” “.

The New American reported that some sheriffs “first heard that the so-called supremacy clause of the US Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) is misinterpreted – superior to state and county laws and federal law, not the other way around, That does the sheriff as the most powerful elected official in the country. “

The New American told Texas sheriffs, as one speaker, “Constitutional Bureau and attorney KrisAnne Hall,” said it was their duty to ignore federal gun laws. Hall can be seen in the trailer for “NonCompliant,” a film that seems to combine radical anti-government libertarianism with conservative evangelical Christianity.

Also spoke is Pam Elliot, former sheriff of Edwards County, Texas, who the Texas Observer described in a 2016 profile as vulnerable to “power games” and voter intimidation against other local officials, Democrats and Latinos. “Edwards appears to be partly motivated by a growing far-right movement that is using sheriffs as the last line of defense against a tyrannical government,” the observer noted at the time.

Edwards told the New American that more and more sheriffs are “beginning to understand the duty of interposition.” The magazine stated:

Interposition refers to the practice of a lower official standing between his constituents and unlawful mandates from higher government agencies. For example, many states codify their opposition to federal violations through laws stating they will not help the government violate Americans’ rights with unconstitutional gun laws, loss of civilian wealth, mask mandates, federal control of state land, facial recognition programs. etc. County sheriffs are charged with interposing at the county level.

Also on the conference’s list of speakers was neo-confederate Christian Reconstructivist activist and funder Michael Peroutka, although he was not mentioned in the New American Report.

In his post-conference video, Mack said among conference attendees and sponsors was Gary Heavin, billionaire founder of the fitness chain Curves, who made right-wing messaging films like AmeriGeddon, a film about an electromagnetic impulse attack on the United States in which InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones played a role.

Last month, Michigan Live reported on the Michigan sheriff’s connection with CSPOA. One of the “loudest supporters of the CSPOA in Michigan” is Sheriff Dar Leaf of Barry County. When militiamen were arrested last year to kidnap the state governor, Leaf suggested that they may have been trying to make a lawful arrest of the citizens. Michigan Live noted that Leaf had appeared on stage months earlier with some of the same militia members during a rally against the governor’s pandemic-induced stay-at-home order. They. Leaf also challenged Michigan 2020 election results in a lawsuit that was quickly dismissed.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here with permission.

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