11 arrested from armed ‘Moorish American Arms: After a standoff with police in Massachusetts that shut down a major highway during the busy holiday weekend and triggered shelter-in-place orders, police captured 11 members of an armed group of men who claimed to “not recognize our laws.”
A state trooper noticed a group of eight to ten males in military-style clothes refueling their vehicle by the side of Interstate 95 near Wakefield, about 10 miles north of Boston, around 1:30 a.m. Saturday on July 3, 2021.
The men told the trooper they were on their way to Maine from Rhode Island for “training.” They were wearing tactical gear including body cameras and helmets and had long rifles draped over their shoulders.
Two people were arrested during the traffic stop. The rest of the party ran into the woods, describing themselves as “Moorish American Arms.” By 10:45 a.m. local time, nine individuals had been arrested, and two more had been discovered in their vehicles.
State police later tweeted that two individuals were arrested on North Ave in Wakefield by members of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) and taken “to one of our barracks.”
The standoff was peacefully terminated when 11 men were apprehended.
Who exactly are “Moorish American Arms”?
The armed gang has been dubbed “Moorish American Arms” by some news outlets. The members wore military-style clothes, carried firearms, and wore body cameras and helmets.
Moorish Americans fly a Moroccan flag and claim to be American nationals, however they are not citizens of the United States.
A man who did not provide his name but said he was from a group called Rise of the Moors broadcast from Interstate 95 in Wakefield near exit 57 in a video shared to social media Saturday morning.
“We are not anti-government in any way.” “We are neither anti-police, sovereign citizens, or Black identity radicals,” stated the man, who appeared to be dressed in military-style gear. “We are abiding by the peaceful journey laws of the United States, as we have said several times to the authorities.”
“Moorish Americans dedicated to educating new Moors and influencing our Elders,” according to the group’s website.
The gang also claimed that they were abiding by country rules and, as a result, should be permitted to travel throughout the state with their weapons. They maintained that the group had no intention of harming any individuals and wished for a peaceful resolution to the standoff.
The Moorish sovereign citizen movement is defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “collection of independent organizations and lone individuals” who “espouse an interpretation of sovereign doctrine that African Americans constitute an elite class within American society with special rights and privileges that convey to them a sovereign immunity that places them beyond federal and state authority.”
What did officials say on the incident? Any after- effects?
Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told CBS Boston earlier that the group was “armed and dangerous,” and that “you never know how far guys like these are ready to go.”
At a press conference on Saturday, Suffolk County District Attorney Marian Ryan indicated that all 11 suspects would appear in district court on Tuesday morning. The guys, Ryan said, will face charges related to firearms and other matters.
As travelers hit the road for the Fourth of July weekend, the standoff shut down part of I-95 in Wakefield in both directions, causing high traffic. It’s still partially shut.
Wakefield and Reading residents were advised to lock their doors and seek cover. No threats had been made, according to Wakefield police, but the males were regarded armed and dangerous. There have been no reports of injuries or shots fired.
The group said it “does not recognize our laws,” according to Massachusetts officials.
Col. Christopher Mason of the Massachusetts State Police said the group’s “self-proclaimed leader” wanted it known that they are not anti-government.
“I believe the investigation that follows this contact will give us a better understanding of their purpose and philosophy,” Mason added.
It’s unclear whether the gang involved in the Wakefield standoff adheres to this philosophy.
“Moorish sovereigns, sometimes known as Moors, have clashed with federal and state authorities over their refusal to follow laws and rules. Recent violent clashes between Moorish sovereign citizens and law enforcement have occurred “the SPLC claims.
A Los Angeles man who claimed to be a Moorish ruler was arrested in Newark, New Jersey, last month after shutting himself inside a woman’s home and declaring it his ancestral property.