South L.A. tells Oath Keepers not to mess with Auntie Maxine

Congresswoman Maxine Waters supporters show up outside of her South Los Angeles field office on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

LOS ANGELES-Don’t start nothing and it won’t be nothing. That’s the message the South Los Angeles community sent to the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers who were planning on bringing armed protesters to stalk outside remnants of the South Los Angeles office of U.S. Congresswoman’s Maxine Waters.

It was a good idea that the Oath Keepers didn’t make their planned appearance. Otherwise, it could have gotten ugly. Real fast. As it was, tension ran a bit high on Thursday, July 19. The Oath Keepers didn’t show up because they found out that Auntie Maxine has backup. The Oath Keepers had taken on a boastful tone in announcing the organization would walk or drive right into South Los Angeles and make a lot of noise outside of Waters office without retribution.

The noise the Oath Keepers created with their hostile rhetoric to denounce the longtime Democratic representative turned out to be either a fluke or a dry test run for something to come later down the line.

A clergy member tries to quell the temperament of the crowd outside of Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ South Los Angeles office on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

Either way, the Oath Keepers, after a lot of talking, failed to make their own scheduled appearance to Waters’ South Los Angeles office. On the flip side, since word circulated about a group of outsiders invading their community, local residents and community members decided they would come out and meet up with the protesters to counter their demonstration. Looking at the level of hostility the sweltering crowd showed up with, that may not have been a smart move for either side.

Anyone that didn’t look familiar to the neighborhood locals found themselves ran out from the area. Literally. If you were not wearing either a law enforcement or media badge to justify your presence, you were confronted and asked what was your intentions were at the location.

Several individuals were personally escorted from the area courtesy of local neighborhood enforcers. The back-and-forth banter between Waters and President Donald Trump over the last two years has now spilled over into local communities and several states. And not in a good way. Recently, Waters had to cancel appearances in Texas and Alabama due to credible death threats made against her after she urged supporters to push back against Trump and his backers.

Counter-protesters showed up outside of the South Los Angeles field office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters to confront the Oath Keepers, which had planned to demonstrate against the longtime lawmaker. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

According to its website, the Oath Keepers are made up of current and former police, military, and first responders that pledge to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Apparently, Waters officially became the enemy after she made a fiery speech in which she alluded to her backers to go anywhere and everywhere to confront the Trump Administration, including sympathizers and supporters.

“If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them! And you tell them that they are not welcome, anymore, anywhere,” Water said.

Members of the Oath Keepers took issue with what Waters said and saw the verbal attack as an incitement of terrorism. In a released statement on its web page, the Oath Keepers announced that the proposed protests could last for an undetermined time. The Oath Keepers, which has over 560,000 likes on its Facebook page, released the following statement on why it did not show up for their own call to action against Waters.

A strong presence: Residents in South Los Angeles sounded the alarm against the Oath Keepers coming into the neighborhood to protest against Congresswoman Maxine Waters on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman for News4usonline

Maxine Waters and Her Followers Prove Our Point:

“LAPD informed our leadership that there were already 50 Maxine Waters supporters in front of her office armed with steel pipes and baseball bats. And LAPD also stated there were three busloads full of other Maxine Waters supporters staged nearby, waiting for us to arrive before they deployed. LAPD advised our on the ground leadership that LAPD could not guarantee the safety of any protesters, and strongly advised that the protest not be held because of the danger,” the statement reads.

“LAPD added that if a riot occurred, and we were attacked, the LAPD officers would withdraw and we would be on our own. Given the high likelihood of lethal force violence (steel pipes and baseball bats to the head are clearly lethal force), and out of concern for the safety of other peaceful protesters such as the MAGA Girls, our advance team leader made the decision to cancel the protest. Which only proves our point. You can’t even hold a peaceful protest in front of Maxine Waters’ office, protesting her incitement of her supporters to violence, without facing the violence of her supporters, to the point of lethal force.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1271 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.

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