PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Steven Latimer had to speak to his son through our cameras since the last time he saw him was on a live stream.
“I love you, I’m proud of you, I’ve always been, and I cannot wait for this to clear,” said Steven Latimer.
After about nine hours of negotiations Saturday morning, police arrested his son, the founder of The Rise of the Moors, Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, along with 10 other heavily armed men dressed in tactical gear.
It started when a trooper spotted them in the breakdown lane of I-95N. Police put up a perimeter, forcing homeowners in Wakefield and Reading to shelter-in-place. The group is based out of Pawtucket, R.I. but the men are from New York, Rhode Island & Michigan. They told police they were heading to Maine for training.
“He was trained in the Marines, he’s training them for self-defense,” Latimer said.
“They claim that they have no obligation to have licenses or to comply with police orders,” said Margaret Huang, the president & CEO of The Southern Poverty Law Center. “So I imagine that standoff was a result of the complete different perspective on this situation that those two parties encountered.”
The SPLC has been tracking the group, which made it on their extremist list last year. SPLC classifies them as an anti-government sovereign group that rejects any and all government authority. That means that they don’t get driver’s licenses, they don’t have gun licenses, they don’t pay taxes, but SPLC said they are not a hate group.
“This group does not have a history of violent activity, but they do have a strong predilection for carrying and for training their supporters in the use of guns and other weaponry,” Huang said.
“We have these senior security analysts who say, ‘Thank God they were stopped and arrested because they were a terrorist in the making,’ but you don’t even know Jamahl,” Latimer said. “He’s not a violent person at all. No one can ever say that he’s done anything wrong to them, no one.”
Latimer said, believe it or not, he is thankful for the Massachusetts State Police in how they handled the situation Saturday morning. He said even though a few of the members had to go to the hospital afterward for “preexisting conditions,” he said he was scared a nine-hour-long interaction with police could have ended another way.
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