Two men who belong to right wing fringe groups and believe that President Barack Obama isn't a U.S. citizen have managed to get themselves arrested in Tennessee.
The first man, Walter Fitzpatrick, was taken into custody after he tried to perform a citizen's arrest of Grand Jury foreman Gary Pettway at the Madison County Courthouse. While his reasons for attempting to arrest Pettway are not clear, Fitzpatrick had previously tried to get a grand jury to indict Obama for treason.
Fitzpatrick is a member of American Grand Jury. The group's website maintains that Obama was a CIA operative and plans to put him on "trial" May 14-19.
The arrest of Fitzpatrick upset Darren Huff, a Georgia man. Huff made a video calling on fellow Patriots to descend on the courthouse to defend Fitzpatrick. Huff is a member of Oath Keepers, a right wing fringe group that exists to uphold the Constitution if they are asked to violate it.
David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars posted Huff's video:
Huff the planned an April 20 trip from Georgia to Tennessee with a Colt .45 and an AK-47 in an attempt to free Fitzpatrick. WBIR reported:
The FBI interviewed a bank manager who said Huff told him on April 15 that Fitzpatrick had been falsely arrested, that Huff was in the Georgia militia, and that 8 or 9 other militia groups were headed to Madisonville on April 20 to "take over the city." The bank manager said Huff told him he'd see Huff's actions on the noon news.
FBI agents interviewed Huff at his home on April 19, and Huff said he would be traveling to Tennessee to help Fitzpatrick get the charges against him dropped. Huff told agents there would be no violence unless they were provoked into violence.
Still, he told agents he planned to travel with his Colt .45 handgun and AK-47 rifle.
The FBI monitored Huff and observed him leaving his house around 6:15 am on April 20.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled him over for various traffic and registration violations.
The troopers said Huff volunteered that he planned to travel to Madisonville to take over the courthouse, to arrest the people on Fitzpatrick's warrants--who he termed "domestic enemies of the United States engaged in treason"--and to turn those arrested over to state police to place in jail.
The troopers said Huff told them if they didn't have enough people on April 20 to do all they planned on that day, they'd be back in 1-2 weeks.
The troopers said Huff also told them he was ready to die for his rights and what he believed in, and that he would not consent to a search of his truck.
"He was charged with traveling in interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot and transporting in commerce a firearm in furtherance of a civil disorder," according to The Daily Times.
James Cavanaugh, a former ATF Special Agent, joined MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Thursday to talk about the arrest. "Violence can come from the lunatic fringe, and we've seen it time and time and time again. So it can be a very dangerous movement," he said.
Groups like Oath Keepers and American Grand Jury resurge as Democrats come into power, according to Cavanaugh. "Certainly in a Democratic administration they seem to pop up. We saw them heavy in the '90s when President Clinton was in office and now they seem to be back pretty heavy now and we're having a lot of activity around the country," he said.
"If you have a loved one that's associated with a group like that or you are, you need to break off and get and try to get a dose of reality because that's really way out there on the fringe," he said.
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast May 6, 2010.