Sheriff says Mississippi ‘minuteman group’ not needed

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NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — A resident in one Mississippi county said he plans to organize a “minuteman group” in the area to deal with what he called safety concerns in their community.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said such a group is unnecessary and unwanted in the area.

Jack Blaney told the Adams County Board of Supervisors that the group is “not exactly a militia.”

“In the last several months since the China virus and everything came out, I’ve got a lot of people and Adams County residents concerned about different safety issues,” Blaney said, according to The Natchez Democrat. “It is not exactly a militia group, but we’re discussing having a bi-monthly meeting of more of a minuteman-type of situation. We’re looking to acquire property in Kingston to do that with. We have 150-year-old rules in the State of Mississippi that we have to go by for such things and the first is to inform our local leaders.”

The first minutemen were civilians who independently organized during the American Revolutionary War. They were known for being ready at a minute’s notice, thus the name.

Blaney said he isn’t sure Adams County law enforcement could protect him.

“Pick a Democratic state, all these riots are breaking out everywhere,” said Blaney, who said his militia has wealthy people interested in funding it, but refused to say if they lived in Mississippi.

The sheriff called Blaney an agitator and said Adams County would get plenty of help from other counties, the state and even the federal government to protect residents in the unlikely event something extremely serious happened. But he also said Blaney has the right to create any group as long as it conforms to the law.

“Just know, if there is a breach of peace from his group or any other group that is out there agitating or causing injustice — no matter what their race, color or religion is — we’re going to deal with them. Period. Hate has no place in our community, no matter what source it comes from. I’m not classifying (the minutemen) as a hate group but sometimes views can be misconstrued,” Patten said.

Blaney said he came to the Adams County Board of Supervisors to be upfront about his group. “Made a clear distinction from a militia group, that it will be a group of Adams county Boys, Proud to live here and concerned about the areas security,” Blaney wrote on social media after the meeting.

Blaney later said “Boys, Proud” was not intended as a nod to the Proud Boys, which is a right-wing group founded during the 2016 presidential election with a history of street violence against left-wing opponents. The group gained attention recently when they were mentioned in the Sept. 29 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic Party challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

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