Calling on Law Enforcement: Vigilante Policing Put Lives and 1st Amendment at Risk

Reverend Allen O’Brien of the Pilgrim Congregational Church attended the Friday and Tuesday Redding protests. Photo courtesy of Allen O’Brien.

I’ve been on the phone over the last 48 hours with the DA and local news: we’re calling privately and publicly on the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office to release a statement answering whether any law enforcement official requested private counter-protesting civilians to show up at the Black Lives Matter protest on Tuesday night.

This is important because the actions of the self-styled militia, staged a block away from our protest and numbering nearly 100 in my estimation, put the lives and first amendment rights of everyone gathered at risk. I personally witnessed no less than five times when this group used their trucks as weapons to intimidate pedestrian protesters, brushing against them at high speeds after doing laps around the block in tactical gear. It’s one thing to protect businesses, it’s another thing to publicly menace against our first amendment rights.

Secondly, and most importantly, we ask the Sheriff’s office to release a public statement requesting this group stay home at future protests, given their actions on Tuesday. The Redding Police Department put out a statement asking Black Lives Matter protesters to stay home before our event, while recognizing they couldn’t violate our rights to do so, so we know the Sheriff’s Office has the ability to request counter-protesters to stay away. Even if it turns out no law enforcement official invited them initially, several individuals were under the impression they were coordinating with Police and Sheriff’s deputies. To them we ask you speak clearly. Our safety and our rights depend on it.

Reverend Allen O’Brien is the pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC, in Redding, California, and co-founder of the Irenicast podcast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and interconnectedness. 

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96 Responses

  1. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    Interesting that you seem to be in favor of the First Amendment, but want to ban certain people from participating in a demonstration. From what I heard, these
    folks were in agreement with the cause. But let’s turn it around, if there was a pro Trump rally in Redding, would you be OK with banning counter protesters? I think not.

  2. Avatar Rajeev says:

    Doug did you read this part? “I personally witnessed no less than five times when this group used their trucks as weapons to intimidate pedestrian protesters, brushing against them at high speeds after doing laps around the block in tactical gear. It’s one thing to protect businesses, it’s another thing to publicly menace against our first amendment rights.” That appears to be the issue at hand.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      that is not what the media on hand were reporting

      • Avatar Jason says:

        Doug-Journalists from the anewscafe attended the protest. What media are you referring to? Breitbart? Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc?

        • Avatar Jason says:

          Classic Doug “that is not what the media on hand were reporting“. Media? Have some respect and call them JOURNALISTS. What are the names of the Journalist? Who are you referring to? SAY THEIR NAMES DOUG.

          Thank you Anewscafe for providing this public service in a time when we, the public, have not financially supported you. I will be subscribing.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            KRCR did a good job reporting what was going on. They had a fairly long video of the event recording how LE interacted with the protesters, which was polite, professional and accommodating.
            What baffles me is that on these pages there are a couple hundred comments about this protest, hardly any has anything to do with the substance of the rally, or the conversation needed to solve racial tensions. No…what everyone is focused on is rumors and allegations directed towards the Sheriff who had no authority to manage the protest.
            So Jason. Why don’t you focus on the fact that there was a successful, peaceful demonstration. The chief denied that there was any coordination with the militia.
            It was silly for you to bring up Briebart…I looked and read enough local media to get a good picture of what occurred. Sorry I didn’t get every name of every reporter that I came across.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Doug Cook,

            I found two short videos of this event on the KRCR website. One ran roughly 20 seconds, and the other ran all of about one minute, which is hardly “lengthy”. They showed the rather intimidating police line blocking protestors, and a single officer who stepped into the crowd to walk with them, to supportive chants of “RPD!”.

            KRCR also repeated the claim by militia members that they were there “to protect the City”. By whose authority? And isn’t that what the police are for?

            ANC readers have turned up ridiculous claims on militia member’s social media pages about “busloads of Antifa” being sighted, and exhortations by their “commander” to come to this protest armed. Why weren’t these armed vigilantes hearded to keep them in RPD’s line of vision, as BLM protestors were?

            Finally, claims by law enforcement that there was no official “coordination” with these vigilantes hardly precludes an unofficial phone call from one like-minded person to another. We already know that County Supervisor Les Baugh is thick as thieves with militia members, and that the Sheriff is on a first name “I’ll call you tomorrow” basis with the local ultra-right-wing element (per the last BOS meeting).

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Patricia, the clip I saw from KRCR was about 10 minutes long

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Doug Cook – Where?

          • Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

            Keep in mind that KRCR is owned by Sinclair, a pro-Trump, right-wing station. It’s coverage of our fires was great but Sinclair presents much of the news with a right-wing slant. I have no reason to believe its coverage of the protest was honest.

      • Avatar Shane says:

        I was there and can attest to this statement of them circling the blocks intimidating protestors and insinuating violence. Don’t speak without a point of reference.

      • Avatar Susan says:

        Doug, I was there. I saw this. Are you suggesting we are lying?

    • Avatar Randy says:

      This is exactly what the Trump clan did at the “No One is Above the Law” march back in December where hundreds of Trump clan showed up to confront and intimidate the peaceful marchers and even though this chaotic event took place a few blocks from the police station there was not a single RPD was there to monotor or witness the lawless behavior of the smoke spewing trucks racing back and forth swerving at people.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug Cook,

        The several social media posts by the so-called “commander” and other members of this militia group replicated under yesterday’s ANC article on this subject made crystal clear that they were going to this protest armed and looking for a fight. No doubt the terrorist tactics involving their trucks were intended to get an angry reaction from the protestors so that militia members could rush in and quell an imagined threat to the City. It’s to the great credit of the protestors that this situation didn’t escalate into something really dangerous.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Randy, I’m not a protesting kind of guy and try my best to avoid them. A few years ago while in Sacramento, I came across a Tea Party rally at the capital. There was a fairly large contigent of counter protesters being loud and intimidating.

        It happens Randy…no matter what side is demonstrating. That is the nature of protests. I wish it didn’t happen like that, but it does. Protesters have to live with counter protesters…be it conservative or liberal causes.

        From what I saw, the protests went off peacefully. As I said, you can see worse behavior at a local Little League game.
        Just remember this feeling you have the next time there is a pro life rally and the intimidation that occurs by the pro choice crowd.

        • Avatar Al says:

          Doug you should probably go into damage control mode like most of the semi intelligent militia groups are doing. Removing racist, derogatory, and implicating texts.
          That one idiot has painted every militia person there as a violent racist terrorist who are probably not responsible enough to own weapons

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Al…I’m not sure what you are saying….are you implying that I have made racist, derogatory, and implicating texts or comments that should be deleted? If that is what you are inferring, can you give me an example of why you believe that.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Doug Cook,

          That’s another of your false equivalencies. BLM protestors were NOT harming anyone, or interfering with anyone’s right to access medical care, or openly harassing people who are making what could be the hardest decision of their lives.

          There is NO legitimate comparison between this BLM protest and anti-women’s rights fanatics who swarm women’s clinics (then blow them up or burn them down when no one’s looking). Your comparison is offensive in the extreme.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            BLM protesters not harming anyone? I’ll give you one example…David Dorn a black retired police captain with 10 grandchildren shot and killed while he was trying to protect a friends pawnshop from being looted. Officials are looking for the subjects, showing security videos of the suspects, all 7 were black…not the white supremacists that you claim are doing all the violence.

            How about all those black businesses that were looted…isn’t that harming someone? It is offensive that you ignore the violence of the last couple of weeks, at least 11 people killed and many more injured…but you are outraged of some dude revving his engine in Redding. Really?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Oh come on Doug! I was clearly referring to the Redding protest a few nights ago. However, the Redding women’s clinic has been bombed, set on fire (twice, I believe), was the scene of countless acts of vandalism, its staff has been threatened countless times, and anti-abortion protestors still harass patients on a regular basis. What comparable harm has BLM done is Shasta County?

            And by all reputable accounts young white men ARE behind much of the looting and destruction – which may primarily be members of white supremacist groups who want to discredit the protestors (for obvious reasons). I’d also wager that Black people have been victimized by the police and white supremacists at FAR greater rates than the other way around. In fact that’s another area where there is absolutely no comparison.

        • Avatar Randy says:

          I have never involved myself in abortion protests, Trump rallies or any other group I am not supportive of. I were to involved myself in events or meetings of those I have opposing positions with I would not come armed looking to ‘keep people in line, or try to disrupt their event by driving back and forth yelling at them but I would come there to speak my position to them in the most respectful, effective possible. From the eyewitness accounts we have seen over the past few days it sounds like the volatility of the event was defused by some key people leading the protest. So far no one has said the protesters were armed with anything but signs and bullhorns while there have been several eyewitness accounts of the ‘militia’ being armed with guns and clubs.

  3. Avatar Tara says:

    Well, it is what we all witnessed, being there.

  4. Avatar Denise says:

    Eeeks…that is a problem to hear the militia had the goal ALL wrong.

    If indeed they were asked to come, the goal would be to protect those who showed up. Like RPD is supposed to do. Right?

    It stands to reason that if anyone wrecked property, RPD or any citizen could detain for arrest.

    But in the meantime, they don’t get to freak out the general public for being in public peaceful assembly.

    • Avatar Veteran with a Masters says:

      I mean, the last time I read the constitution it says you have first and second amendment rights, but I must have missed the part that said, “you don’t get freak out other people.”

  5. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    It’s still quite problematic. Interpreting Posse Comitatus can be a very complicated can of worms, and even legal scholars have documentable disagreed on all the rules, except the proviso which tends to exclude military involvement in civil enforcements. For my money, all these players are quite lucky no one got hurt, and no one has been sued. At least, not yet…
    I’ll be surprised to hear a response other than “I can’t comment on that at this time, as it constitutes a compelling component in an ongoing investigation.” They always like to hide behind that one…

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Bill Vercammen,

      I’d wager there won’t be any “investigation” – just a denial, however unbelievable it may be.

      • Avatar Ken says:

        Sheriff Mangrini (sp?) is going to be on Carl and Linda Botts’ Free Fire radio station tomorrow morning at 7am, followed by Doug LaMalfa at 8am.

        I doubt there will be any in depth questioning, but one never knows

        • Avatar Randy says:

          We have two, local community radio stations, KKRN and KFOI, and it is past time for a capable host to bring a high quality, call-in, talk show to our local airwaves.

      • Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

        Good call, Patrecia. You know your cop shop.
        Are they always this predictable?

  6. Avatar Heather says:

    Their tactics of intimidation was clear to plenty of people there. A large group of frowning men who refused to interact in a constructive way was not cohesive to the peaceful protest. The continued circling by the trucks did nothing but distract from the matter at hand and cause fear. If they were truly there to protect businesses and not cause problems they wouldn’t have amplified the tension. They would have put forth a group effort to keep the peace through friendlier interactions. Their decision to participate was clearly them attempting to stoke the flames and escalate the situation.

  7. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    The events of the past weeks might even provide a compelling reason for citizen’s participation at a pending BOS meeting. The obvious disparities in the way SCSD handled the protester intervention at the BOS meeting which Doni reported (with the bullhorn gal) vs the way the SCSD manipulated the downtown BLM protesters. Both were First Amendment issues, both addressed Freedom of Assembly, yet both were handled quite differently. What the heck?

  8. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    Many of them were armed law enforcement in plain clothes, recognisable by locals. Pastor Lester Baugh, Shasta County Supervisor and LE Commissioner I believe knows and associates with the family leading the militia Re; Facebook +!+

  9. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    “Many of them were armed law enforcement in plain clothes, recognisable by locals. Pastor Lester Baugh, Shasta County Supervisor and LE Commissioner…”

    Now you are beginning to sound as if Annalise and Doni were the only folks there that weren’t BLM, county affiliated, RPD, or militia. It might be interesting and inatructive to hear Pastor Baugh enumerate the events of that moonlit evening. Sometimes Les is more…and more is always merrier – especially when you hear it straight from the Dancing Queen himself.

  10. Avatar j says:

    Some carried guns. Is that permitted in the city? Can we get that addressed?

  11. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    Presumably, all were appropriately procured and registered firearms with legal magazine capacities and loaded with legal ammo – carried by appropriately certified CCW permit holders. But ascertaining that after the fact is impossible. There may be open carry restrictions inside the city limit, but it apparently didn’t concern anyone present.

    • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

      If LE were truly concerned about a peaceful protest you would think they would of banned all weapons from The city of Redding protest march.
      And of course the gun carrying militia would of obeyed that temporary ban, or not.
      Or would they still be crying about their 2nd amendment rights?

  12. Avatar Jennifer J Middleton says:

    Hi Doug: I have been inspired to reply to your impressions from the article. I don’t want to be so presumptive as to say that you missed the point…but I will say as just another reader I took away an entirely different meaning about what was expressed. I did not hear anything about “banning” counter protesters. I read valid questions about certain individuals possibly being specifically invited by law enforcement officers to come and help them enforce (what they as civilians might perceive to be) the law. If that happened (and it should be investigated) that is wrong. For law enforcement to ‘pump them up’ and give them permission (with a nod and a wink) to engage people protesting as they might see fit would be a horrendous misuse of the officer’s position and a betrayal their community. First for the obvious reason that the invited civilians in their “protect Redding” frenzy could be very likely to overstep the bounds of any citizen (and/or law enforcement officer) and hurt an innocent person under the illusion of a badge (the illusion created with the Sheriff/Chief’s invitation). That of course would suck for the person injured or killed… however, a secondary aspect (if these people really were invited by law enforcement) that the chief or sheriff may not have considered…is that the ‘militia’ or ‘proud-boy’ or tough guy they invited to help them could possibly (in their frenzy of city protection and backed by the city and law enforcement) feel empowered to overstep any natural behavior or logic they might otherwise have had and commit an injury or a crime that could ruin their life. They could be good citizens believing they have been called to action with authority…like a super-hero… in that euphoric cloud of feeling needed they could very likely do something that they (and someone else) might regret for the rest of their lives. When/if that happened where would law enforcement stand? Was the invitation real – and hey, did it come with insurance? This is an important question that does need to be investigated.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      How this works: Doug reads something. He then plucks a line out—maybe an out-of-context world or clause in addition—and constructs his straw man. The straw man is generally an absurdity—so divorced from the original point (and reality) as to fall well short of satire, because it’s a new thing in and of itself, bearing almost no resemblance to what was written by another.

      If you then rise to the fly, he’ll issue more absurdities in what he apparently believes is akin to the Socratic method: “Are you saying that it’s never okay to assist police officers?” “Are you saying that large pick-up trucks should be banned?” “Are you saying all militia members are racist pedophiles?”

      To sum it up in a sentence: He thinks his contrarian’s sledgehammer is a scalpel.

      • Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

        Excellent, excellent summary Mr. Towers! :::applause:::

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Steve – that’s brilliant! (and so true).

      • Avatar Todd Snyder says:

        My favorite part is how Doug constantly talks about things happening in redding when he lives in shingletown. I think hes gettin that cabin fever…..too long in the woods and so on

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          What makes you think I live in Shingletown? I have been living in Redding since 2000…20 years now if my math is correct

  13. Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

    Who in the hell gave white nationalist militias a green light to act as law enforcement officers in Redding? Were, or are these white nationalist militias sworn in the night of the BLM protests to act as official officers of the law? Did they get paid?

    On one of these idiot white nationalist Facebook sites, there is lies, racist “comical” tripe, and BS warning that “There are two busses of Antifa on the way from Portland…” we’re locked and loaded. Yep, no busses, no Antifa, just peaceful citizens, peacefully expressing concern for the and injustice of too many people of color getting gunned down by a few bad law enforcement officers and white nationalists, and demand our government, from law enforcement, to city council members and county supervisors, address this white systematic racist – nationalist sickness that is poisoning America.

    America is getting sick and tired of these camoed up AK 47 Dixie – Confederate limp D—-s acting like they have some Constitutional right to intimidate and terrorize the public, and it seems the Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini gives them a nod and wink, if not encouragement, to display thier white nationalist B-S on the behalf of who? For the City Of Redding? Says Who?

    I suggest we demand a Shasta County Grand Jury investigation, make a complaint to the California Attorney General, to the Shasta County Supervisors , the Redding City Council and the City Of Redding Police Department, stating, no, we do not want white nationalist paramilitaries, looking like white ISIS, being part of our taxpayer funded OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT department. Please, tell the white nationalists no, you are not welcome, stay home.

    • Avatar Liz Zanze says:

      I agree that there needs to be follow-up to this story through the State of California or Grand Jury. This is now the 3rd bad move by Magrini (Rodeo, Council Meeting and now this) He definitely needs to be reported. He has no right to contact these militia groups and invite them to attend peaceful rallies.

  14. Avatar Blake Dorsey says:

    Ummmm…Christian. ….. why don’t we listen to the sheriff tomorrow on Surefire radio and see what he has to says before jumping to a billion conclusions

  15. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    I just pulled this off the KQMS website, dated today:

    “Chief Responds To Reports Law Enforcement Asked For Militia Groups Help At Protest
    June 4, 2020
    Redding Police Chief Bill Schueller says it’s ridiculous to suggest that law enforcement would call on a local militia group to back them up on crowd control. There were unsubstantiated reports in some local media that some observers of Tuesday night’s Black Lives Matter protest on Court Street had been asked to be there in case things got out of the control of police. Chief Schueller says no such request was made, either by his office or the sheriff’s department. He added that he was pleased that there were virtually no violent or destructive issues with the crowd of more than 500. Apparently there was an incident involving a slashed tire, but it was never reported to police.
    Filed Under: Local News”

    Ridiculous to suggest…untoward to imply, and downright disrespectful to repeat. I guess that means the whole incident didn’t really happen, no one was intimidated, no one felt threatened, no one got herded, and no one came away with any reason to suspect the militiamen werent there at the request of the Sheriff.
    Sure glad that got squared away. I was beginning to think maybe someone was pulling my leg.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      If Chief Schueller is saying that the militia dudes who claimed that the Sheriff invited them are ridiculous, I won’t argue with him. If they were invited by the Sheriff on the down-low and revealed that right out loud to local media, it’s certainly reasonable to question if they have the intellectual capacity to assist LE in any way.

      If Schueller is saying that it’s ridiculous for anyone to follow up on the claim by militia members that they were invited by LE, *someone* is being ridiculous, and it’s not those doing the following up.

      • Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

        To quote good old Ronnie Reagan, trust – well maybe – but verify! Looking forward to how the community of Redding and Shasta county can verify that white nationalist militias won’t be called upon as law enforcement officers by our sheriff.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        “Barber Woody” might possibly have some internal connection to the ‘needs’ of local LE.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Cool. Now let’s hear that from the Sheriff.

      Then let’s hear Commander Cosplay of the Cottonwood Militia and Barbershop Quartet explain why several of “his men” were telling the media that the Sheriff had requested their assistance, and why he let stand on his Facebook page prior to the militia mobilization that busloads of ANTIFA members (no such thing) were here for the event, so arm up, boys!

  16. Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

    People, read please read Annelise’s well written and nicely documented story from yesterday.

    “It wasn’t just California State Militia in this group though, there was a mix of others. I spoke with another individual who identified himself as “American” and “pro-Trump”. He said he approved of what the protesters were doing, but added that he was also there to protect property.

    “The police are happy we’re here,” he said. “They keep driving by, giving us the thumbs up.” He declined to give his name.” The reported they were armed but that they, “shoot only in self defense,” the other man said. “And only against a weapon. That’s our orders from the CO.” CO? What the hell? Who elected this CO?

    The two men said that the Sheriff had called them a half hour earlier and had asked them to “get down here now to keep the peace,” one man said. He added that the Sheriff was becoming “very concerned” about the safety of his guys.

    “Woody Clendenen, our CO, got a call,” one of the men said. “The Sheriff told us where to go, to come right down here.” At that, the other militia member nudged his friend. “Too much man, too much,” he said, and the two wouldn’t speak any more after that.”

    This needs full investigation by the Shasta Country Grand Jury. And CA. Attorney General!

    Nope, we don’t need white nationalists for our peace officers

  17. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    If the cottonwood milita were there in support of the BLM protest, why did they huddle together in their own little click?

    Based on what we know of the unelected sheriff Of Shasta county, can we trust anything he says in response to this issue?
    No. I think not.
    Shasta county LE are part of the problem.
    My support of the blue is waiting.

  18. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Thank you for this article Reverend O’Brian. Thank you for your efforts to get to the truth. Please don’t give up because of the fog of obfuscation that seems to impede simple inquiries in this town and county.

  19. Avatar Blake Dorsey says:

    The sheriff will be on free fire radio tomorrow Friday at 7 a.m.
    Of course regardless what he says none of you will believe it…. the anti-law enforcement sentiment bleeds through deeply on these pages

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Believe it or not, it’s possible to simultaneously hold the beliefs that RPD did a fine job of policing the event, to hope (and even assume) that the Sheriff’s Office acted responsibly as an assisting LE agency (rather than trying to act independently), and to loath the idea that a self-styled militia was there with arms to “keep ’em in line.”

      And to keep asking: “Were the militia invited by LE, as they claimed?” until a convincing answer is provided.

      I know that might be a little complicated for some, but it’s a complicated world we live in—even the Shasta County speck of it.

    • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

      Dorsey, I believe it is the anti militia support that bleeds through so deeply.
      I know it must be difficult to support a group of wannabe tough guys that are basically ignorant of anything that is not connected to the 2nd. amendment.

      However, it is my opinion that the unquestioned “support the blue” is losing support.
      I do not need to support the blue to expect them to do their job, and for LE to support all citizens. But most importantly for LE to buddy up with a militia group is disgusting.

    • Avatar Ed Beier says:

      Blake – I don’t read it as “anti-law enforcement sentiment.” I think there have been legitimate questions raised, especially in the first story. Were some of the militia armed? If so, I would surely be concerned if that were allowed by our law enforcement, especially in a possibly tense situation. It is interesting to me, amidst all of the claims to 2nd Amendment “rights,” that no one is speaking about the many laws, even in southern states, that prohibit the “brandishing” of weapons. Those laws recognize that such action is threatening, in and of itself. Shall we also be able to discuss the possibility of error by a militia member. Guns are dangerous! For those of us who have served in the military, we know how guns are strongly controlled, even in combat zones.

      • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

        You are very correct concerning how guns are controlled even in combat zones.
        As a Vietnam combat vet I can attest to that control.
        Even on patrol, weapons were in safe mode. At heightened times you would lock and load a round.
        Hell, In many basecamps weapons were not allowed to be carried.

  20. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    A question: assuming it is proven that the militia actually was called by law enforcement, how can an appointed Sheriff or Police Chief be recalled? By the BOS or City Council? By petition? Do they serve at the pleasure of whom? And how can “whom” remove them from office?

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      The Sheriff is an elected position and can be recalled, the Chief of Police is hired by the city council and can be fired. Kind of a moot point now that the Sheriff and Chief came out with statements denying that there was any coordination with any group. Can we move on now? Rather strange that this fake controversy has pushed Covid-19 off these pages.

      • Avatar Randy says:

        The Sheriff and the Chief of Police denied any connection while there are several accounts of the ‘militia’ members stating otherwise and so for you, a former member of a Grand Jury, the case is closed. A prime example of what these protests are all about.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Someone posted a comment that gave a probable explanation…it’s the old telephone game. Where you get a number of people, whisper a phrase to the next person, then pass it along. By the time it gets to the last person, the phrase is changed considerably. My guess that is what happened,somebody started a call tree, and the explanation got changed slightly by every caller until one of them believed they were invited by the Sheriff.
          So in this one instance you believe what they are saying…but everything else, you can’t take them seriously?

          Come on Randy…it’s just like Climate Change news you get hooked into. You can’t stand the good news, you just want to believe all the gloom and doom stories. Sorry to disappoint you, but it looks like the Chief and Sheriff are pretty reasonable fellas.

          • Avatar Randy says:

            Quite an imigination you have Doug. I will just refer you to Steve Towers description above of your incessant word games. He’s got you right.

  21. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    A statement below from Sheriff Magrini regarding the allegations of inviting the militia to the rally, and other recent events. As a citizen of Shasta County (not a journalist), I am more than happy to accept his word.

    A little communication goes a long way.


    As your Sheriff, I am passionate about my job and I love my community. There have been a lot of comments and innuendos as to where I stand on issues. Not taking sides or not commenting on certain topics is being used to infer how I feel or how I interpret issues. So let’s set the record straight.

    It began with the Cottonwood Rodeo. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I and the other Law Enforcement leaders in Shasta County mutually decided to communicate with business owners in an attempt to gain compliance through education. We had great success with most of these personal contacts. Unfortunately, it did not work with the rodeo. But, because I did not issue a citation or send the few deputies available to “corral” over a thousand attendees, people have suggested that I endorsed this event; as if I sponsored, attended or participated in the rodeo.

    Next was the protest at the Board of Supervisor chambers. I received a phone call from the speaker the day before the Board meeting asking if she could address the Board. This was my first contact with her. She was told of the current closure due to COVID restrictions. However, on the meeting day she insisted on speaking with a “bullhorn” from outside the chambers. My attempt to maintain the peace by “smiling”, being polite to the group, and asking if the speaker was done was somehow twisted into my endorsing and condoning the group’s stance or opinions. As a law enforcement officer, my role is to keep the peace and to remain neutral.

    I also want make clear my concerns with the actions of the Minneapolis police officers. This incident and the events that have since unfolded, we can all agree, were and are disturbing. As peace officers we take an oath to protect life and property. I condemn any kind of excessive force or unethical treatment of our citizens. Furthermore, I do not tolerate any social injustice. As your Sheriff, I expect all department personnel to treat every member of our community with dignity and respect.

    As it relates to the recent comments regarding the protest in Redding, I did not invite any “militia” groups or any other groups to come to town and participate. The day of the protest, our office was contacted by two different groups. The first group, the Cottonwood Community Watch, sent me a message stating they were going to be in town attending the protest. Another group, the Northern California Militia, came to the Sheriff’s Main Office. They told a records clerk they were in town for the protest. I repeat, I did not solicit or request any groups or organizations to come to town to appear at any event.

    I am confident in the skills and abilities of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office. They are well trained and well equipped to handle any circumstance. They receive training on how to effectively communicate and de-escalation situations. We have a great relationship with the community we serve.

    I will end with this quote from Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” Please continue to be tolerant, be safe and be respectful of each other.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      The Sheriff’s comment to the bullhorn-wielding woman at the BOS meeting “I’ll call you tomorrow” didn’t sound all that “neutral” to me.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        He says he was trying to diffuse the situation. I don’t see any cause to doubt him on that.

        At this point the interesting open question for me: Who lied? Sheriff Magrini says he didn’t ask the militia for assistance—I want to believe him. The militia members said he did ask—maybe they lied. The “CO” of the militia has been strangely silent—did he lied to his militia underlings?

        Someone is lying, and someone got chumped.

        • Avatar CHRISTIAN Gardinier says:

          So, this is a chummed, “I was there and part of the Militia. We were there to keep the peace and protect our community. We were ASKED to be there by the shasta co. sheriff and we all answered the call. Our CO Woody C. is a good and honorable man. He has never lied to me but I know he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yes he was talking to the sheriff and he relayed the orders to us and we were happy to oblige. He is concerned now that the sheriff is taking heat and trying to distance himself away. He’s asked us to stay quiet but I’m tired of staying quiet and shouldn’t be ashamed of doing our duty. Woody was getting updates from the sheriff who was at the forward observation area watching the events on a drone. We were at the Fox Hole and the sheriff was concerned for his deputys that were there. He told Woody to get over there and keep the peace. He asked us to not intervene unless it got out of hand. which it didn’t because we were there.”

  22. Avatar Adam R. Sanders says:

    Regardless of whether the militia or community watch arrived at the behest (openly or on the downlow) of rank and file officer(s) / deputy(ies), once they were there, and they did form a line and block peacefully assembled protesters on one side, LE should not have allowed that. If protesters with signs could not walk behind officers with batons to get to their personal vehicles, then LE should not allow protesters with guns to loosely or tightly block anybody. Also, if a militia member walked through the protesters at Kohls saying “Keep it peaceful folks” as reported by one attendee, I hope he said “LET’s Keep it Peaceful Folks” as he has no authority to tell anyone what to do other than those who have voluntarily given him that right by joining the militia. This has nothing to do with 2nd Am., it has to do with unlawful delegation, or lack of lawful check on, unsworn, untrained, citizens acting in a quasi-law enforcement capacity, such as moving people out of homeless encampments (not saying this group did that, but some have).

    To Christian, this is a militia, but there isn’t anything to suggest they are White Nationalists; the California Militia has non-white members, and let’s not conflate conservative political views with overt racism.

    To Christian

  23. Avatar Farren says:

    One thing that I’ve been mulling over is whether or not the persons in their truck who were circling the protest, revving their engines (engaging in intimidating behavior IMO) were apart of the CA militia/Cottonwoood Militia. The problem with these events is that it’s hard to identify these persons and hard to ascertain whether or not they are affiliated with another group, etc.
    What the folks in the trucks did was absolutely wrong. Let’s not forget, it wasn’t just a slashed tire–that same truck actually hurt someone and that person contacted RPD over it. There is video footage of the red truck circulating among the local population via social media. According to many of the individuals sharing this video, the man responsible has already been identified and the information has been given to the police department. That said, it seems very possible that the persons who chose to intimidate us may NOT have been affiliated with the militia.

    As much as I cringe at the thought of the Cottonwood Militia getting involved (and regardless of the reason they felt they had a call to arms), is there any evidence to support that it was their members who were driving by in their trucks? One thing I’m noticing in some of the FB groups affiliated with the CA militia/patriots is that they are vehemently denying that they were anything but peaceful. I’m taking it with a grain of salt but calling their group out for that type of behavior without real evidence only sews more discord within the community. The militia was there, that’s a fact. Regardless of why, the only way we will get answers is by creating an open dialogue rather than casting stones without proof. I would personally appreciate it if Woody Clendenen could address the public. If he is indeed the CO and if it is his duty to protect our community, then I would think he has the responsibility to respond to the concerns that his group was responsible for the trucks driving back and forth between the protesters.

    Beyond the very legitimate question of whether or not the sheriff gave the militia a “nod and a wink,” (and the legality of such) what is the end goal in interfacing with them? I would like to see these parties communicate with the community in ways that bring unity. That said, it would behoove both parties involved to not only respond to our concerns but to understand why we have these concerns in the first place. Having multiple first-hand accounts of militia members admit that their presence was requested, it is really anything but ridiculous to wonder who is lying and why. Chief Schueller, tell us, why is it ridiculous for us to believe that something like this could happen in our community? The oath embraced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police is: “On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.” Please do not shame us for asking reasonable questions. We all deserve unconditional positive regard.

  24. Avatar Darrel Stewart says:

    I had the opportunity to interview many of the alleged “counter-protesters”. None of the men in the trucks were any of the group that I spoke with. There were several local men and women who were there for the same reason, but had no official connection to the group that I met with.

  25. Avatar Anonymous Heckler says:

    If this is going to be your lead article all day, it might be worth updating with the sheriff’s statement.

    • The Sheriff’s statement is within one of the comments, above. It would be inappropriate for me to add it to Rev. O’Brien’s post because it wasn’t part of his original submission.

  26. Avatar Candace says:

    “… The Redding Police Department put out a statement asking Black Lives Matter protesters to stay home before our event, while recognizing they couldn’t violate our rights to do so, so we know the Sheriff’s Office has the ability to request counter-protesters to stay away. Even if it turns out no law enforcement official invited them initially, several individuals were under the impression they were coordinating with Police and Sheriff’s deputies. To them we ask you speak clearly…”
    Reverend Allen O’Brien

    Sounds like a reasonable request for a reasonable request to me. No rights are violated.

  27. Avatar Robb says:

    Part of the problem our nation is dealing with ill-trained and culturally oblivious law-enforcement. This is certainly not true of all forces, and I think the really dangerous cops are a minority. But training and professional standards are essential, as is oversight. There are specific policies on use of lethal force, too. So, how will these improvements, which are at the core of the protests, be realized in the militia? Are they going to be trained? Will they be accountable in the ways that professional law enforcement is, increasingly, expected to be? If the law enforcement agencies want to vet them, and train them, then that would be far better than just having them show up.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Rob, part of the problem is the Public Sector Unions. These unions are lauded by the left, but cause multiple problems in law enforcement and our education system. It is these unions that prevent police departments and school districts the ability to fire the crappy cops and teachers. My estimate from talking with other cops is that 20-25% of cops, shouldn’t be cops. Same as with the teachers union…there are a lot of crappy teachers that shouldn’t be teaching our kids. Is this a conversation that should be had?

      The problem is that this type of conversation will never happen, because the issue is now centered on white privilege. That is the conversation ender, that is why we can never move forward. Nothing happened after Michael Brown…and nothing will happen after this tragedy. In a few weeks, you all will have forgotten about Mr Floyd and will have moved on to another crisis and cause.

      • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

        Sure thing Doug.
        The problem is the union! Another example of your “look over here” bias.

        Yes, White Privilege has contributed to the problem. Of course you and like minded people believe there is no such thing as white privilege. The ingrained attitude that white people hold no responsibility is a major impairment to racial equality. However your position concerning your innocence to racial inequality is deplorable.

  28. Avatar Katy R says:

    Thank you, sir.

  29. Avatar Bill Vercammen says:

    ” I would personally appreciate it if Woody Clendenen could address the public.”

    At this point, with no police reports having been filed, and the official responses on the table, any perceived improprieties attributable to militia members will also be swept under the rug of public perception. Unlike the RPD chief and Sheriff Magrini, CO Woody has no statutory mandate to address any public concerns, unless – perhaps – those concerns originate in the governor’s office. I would anticipate slow or no further comment going forward, unless grounds for further investigation are submitted for grand jury analysis. I think the fat lady has sung.

  30. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    Doug- The local police union is 100% police and District Attorney people and they are all RED, TRY AGAIN +!+

  31. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    No Bill- tHe Fat lady is wailing loudly… +!+

  32. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Doug, there are protocols in both the police departments and schools for firing poor employees. People do get fired. The unions protect these people for being fired for reasons unrelated to their performance. In the private sector I was fired for correcting the spelling of a co-worker my boss was infatuated with. He also kept on workers who had tapped the till because they were the kids of “important” people in town. In the public sector, he would have had to build a case proving my incompetence at my job, or prove the fact that I had engaged in activities deemed firing offences.

    • Avatar James Hopha says:

      Firing is uncommon in policing, especially after the probation period is over. Even when an officer is fired, there is almost a 1 in 4 chance they’ll be reinstated with back pay after union arbitration. Anecdata:

      Patrick “Rick” Hayes
      Charles Deshazer
      German Bosque
      Mike Denton
      Jennifer Strudl
      Makyla Mead
      Ryan McClarty
      MarySol Domenici
      Ronald Rodriguez
      William Berger
      Brandon Hraiz
      Craig Tanaka
      Josef Phillips
      Francisco Negrete
      Daniel Boegeman
      Brent Lake
      Brian Miller
      Cordell Hendrex
      Jackie Dolinsky
      Eduardo Quintanar
      Travis Serafin
      Ronnie Lightell
      Michael Wright
      Dave Darwin
      Daniel Pritzker
      Mitchel Miller
      Devin Sparks
      Randy Murr
      Jose Flores
      Charles Starks
      Donald Petraitis
      Robert Pfaff
      Trevor Lehman
      Ronald Frashour
      Phillip Lombardi
      Cody Grimes
      Kenneth Pierce
      Alan Buford
      Charles DeShazer
      Gina Kepler
      Brian MacNaught
      Marc Henderson
      Arthur Hardy
      Janir Sims
      Frank Marchione
      Steve Perry
      Kevin McGowan
      Anthony Kaiser
      Rick Bobblitt
      Shawn Morin
      Philip Brailsford
      Curt Beck
      Adley Shepherd

      Further reading:

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Joanne…gov’t employees rarely get fired. tenured teachers don’t get fired. The management of the Arizona VA facility that was ground zero for the VA issues and mismanagement weren’t fired, they were relocated to the same positions at different facilities. And that has a lot to do with the service unions and the collective bargaining agreements. It has to be easier to get rid of crappy employees.

  33. Avatar Paul says:

    Great article! Thanks for being in the streets, fighting for justice!

  34. Avatar John Swearingen says:

    Thank you for this article, and for your hard work.

    We have a disparity between the very clear statement from the Sheriff and the unequivocal comments of the militia members. The contradictions are great enough that it clearly warrants more investigation.

    I fully appreciate that the Sheriff was clear about his commitments to even-handed conduct. The Sheriff wants to keep his job. To do that he needs to run a professional department, and that comes through in his statement. That will be tested going forward, I’m sure.

    The militia are another matter. They have no commitment other than to their own ideals and a reality that requires there be continuous threats to our way of life as they see it. To reinforce their importance they need threats like ghost buses full of anarchists and lawless left-wing demonstrators. They have a vested interest in supposing that there are imminent threats that will require their military participation.

    If they are ordinary citizens who must obey the same rules as anyone at a demonstration they probably don’t support, they are not much different from the demonstrators they are “protecting”, but if they can claim that they are really, you know, just like a sheriff, then their ideology and training have the importance it deserves. Their statements, therefore, have to be taken differently than the Sheriff’s. When I was a kid I used to subtly drop hints at the playground, as I flew off the swing set, that I was actually superman.

    The larger context is that the historical role of policing in this country is to control and create an underclass, whether that be immigrant groups from Europe or blacks in the south and later to the north. The idea that undesirable groups in society must be managed by policing is to baked into our concept of law that we hardly see it, but I would suggest that peaceful demonstrations don’t NEED heavy policing and certainly not armed militias–except coming from the mindset that any group that protests the status quo is dangerous and must be watched and controlled. This is our heritage which brings us armed militia and excessive police force.

    A very good podcast this morning on the history of policing in America:

  35. Avatar Candace says:

    John Swearingen,
    Not to be an echo-chamber, but… I agree with you on all points including the thanking of ANC for all their hard work. Thank you as well for the link to the podcast; I’ll be checking it out.

  36. Avatar Randy says:

    While the right tries desperately to focus attention on, ‘violent, destructive protesters’, the light of truth just keeps getting brighter.

  37. Avatar Mary Suppiger says:

    According to California Penal Code 26350 PC, it is a crime to openly carry any firearm in public, even if the gun is unloaded.

    Is the city of Redding somehow exempt from this state law?

    Someone please explain this to me. I thought California was NOT an open carry state!

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