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How residents armed with AR-15s and wearing bullet proof vests are defending businesses

Residents armed with AR-15s and wearing bullet proof vests are taking matters into their own hands across America, coming out in force to defend businesses and stop widespread vandalism by looters. 

Heavily armed vigilantes wielding everything from bats to rifles have started appearing at protests in places including Philadelphia, Idaho, California and Chicago, threatening to take action if things turn violent in the absence of law enforcement.

In Minneapolis, neighborhood watch groups are springing up – in support of protests over George Floyd’s death but in defense of businesses and homes being destroyed by looters as night falls. 

In many cases, the vigilantes want peace and are focused on protecting local residents and businesses from looters. 

But, in some cases, their involvement has ended in violence toward peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters.

Minneapolis: Residents armed with AR-15s and wearing bullet proof vests are taking matters into their own hands across America, coming out in force to defend businesses and stop widespread vandalism by looters

Detroit: Heavily armed vigilantes wielding everything from bats to rifles have started appearing at protests

Detroit: Heavily armed vigilantes wielding everything from bats to rifles have started appearing at protests

Minneapolis: Armed neighborhood watch groups stand guard on rooftops to protect small businesses and homes  

In Minneapolis – where the chaos first erupted after black man Floyd was killed by white cop Derek Chauvin last Monday – neighborhood watch groups have sprung up in the city to tackle the rioters burning down the homes and businesses of local residents.  

Armed volunteers have been taking positions on rooftops with their semi-automatic firearms to stand guard against looters as the curfew kicks off in the city.  

Some groups are attempting to block off streets to looters and are putting up warning signs that violent trespassers will face consequences.

Organizers of one neighborhood watch group Security Latinos De La Lake have said they stand with the protesters over Floyd’s death but are protecting the area from rioters wreaking destruction on businesses and homes – many of which are owned and serve the black community.  

One member of neighborhood watch group Security Latinos De La Lake. The group said they stand with the protesters over Floyd's death but are protecting the area from rioters wreaking destruction on businesses and homes

One member of neighborhood watch group Security Latinos De La Lake. The group said they stand with the protesters over Floyd’s death but are protecting the area from rioters wreaking destruction on businesses and homes

Security Latinos De La Lake organizer and the owner of a small local restaurant Cesia Baires told NPR the group is trying to protect families that live in the buildings above stores and restaurants that are being torched and ransacked.  

‘Material things we can replace, that’s true,’ she said. ‘But there are families up here. These aren’t empty buildings.’ 

She said the group was forced to act because law enforcement largely abandoned the area as rioting escalated across the city and looters torched, ransacked and destroyed small businesses and homes. 

‘It’s not something that I would want, but we’ve seen how, for at least the first couple days, we were left alone,’ she told NPR. 

‘There were no cops that would come around. So what are we to do? Just stand there and do nothing?’ 

Another member of the neighborhood watch group William Martinez said the group wants to protect residents but not hurt anyone.  

‘It’s important to tell people we’re not going to shoot anybody,’ he told NPR. 

‘We don’t have that idea. But we want to prevent people who are going to hurt Latino families.’

Idaho: Retired cops vow to ‘protect our neighborhoods’ amid fears of Antifa groups arriving from out of state  

In Idaho, vigilantes flanked with their automatic assault rifles also took to the streets this week as concerns – triggered by Donald Trump – spread that violent Antifa demonstrators were headed for the state.   

One armed local told The Washington Post that the call to action came from a Facebook group for retired cops that told the group to stay on high alert and vowed to ‘protect our neighborhoods’. 

The group of ex-cops has been standing guard outside neighborhoods in Idaho’s predominantly white Treasure Valley including the resort town of Coeur d’Alene. 

Idaho: Vigilantes flanked with their automatic assault rifles also took to the streets this week as concerns spread that violent Antifa demonstrators were headed for the state

Idaho: Vigilantes flanked with their automatic assault rifles also took to the streets this week as concerns spread that violent Antifa demonstrators were headed for the state

‘Enough of us swung into action, and put the word out on social media and elsewhere, that we were able to deploy and meet any violent elements that might come here from out of state,’ one of the armed locals Trevor Treller told the Post.

The vigilantes aimed to work alongside the protesters, another armed man said. 

‘I’m here to protect their right to free speech,’ Dan Carson told the Post. 

Pictures show the vigilantes shaking hands with protesters.  

‘I just don’t want these businesses damaged.’

Idaho: Pictures show the vigilantes shaking hands with protesters

Idaho: Pictures show the vigilantes shaking hands with protesters

Philadelphia: Cops ‘high-five’ white men armed with bats who rip up Black Lives Matter posters and threaten peaceful demonstrators  

Some so-called vigilantes have been slammed for taking a violent approach to peaceful protesters rather than a defensive approach to violent looters.  

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney this week slammed a group of Fishtown residents armed with baseball bats Monday night for being ‘antagonistic’ and making ‘a bad situation worse.’  

Philadelphia: Cops were reportedly seen giving the vigilantes high-fives and taking photos with them, leading to an investigation being launched by the police department

Philadelphia: Cops were reportedly seen giving the vigilantes high-fives and taking photos with them, leading to an investigation being launched by the police department

Philadelphia: Other images showed heavily armed men on the roofs of buildings looking down on the crowds below

Philadelphia: Other images showed heavily armed men on the roofs of buildings looking down on the crowds below

Footage surfaced on social media of a large group of white men carrying bats and other objects and threatening protesters near the 26th District police station in the Fishtown area.

Other images showed heavily armed men on the roofs of buildings looking down on the crowds below. 

In one shocking video, men armed with bats threaten peaceful protesters that they will ‘fight you’ if the crowd throws anything at cops.

While one man shouts at the protesters who have stopped and in front of the men and are not responding, a man stood by his side reaches out, grabbing and ripping up a demonstrator’s banner that reads: ‘Black Lives Matter’. 

Philadelphia: In one shocking video, men armed with bats threaten peaceful protesters that they will 'fight you'

Philadelphia: In one shocking video, men armed with bats threaten peaceful protesters that they will ‘fight you’

Philadelphia: While one man shouts at the protesters who have stopped and in front of the men and are not responding, a man stood by his side reaches out, grabbing and ripping up a demonstrator's banner that reads: 'Black Lives Matter'

Philadelphia: While one man shouts at the protesters who have stopped and in front of the men and are not responding, a man stood by his side reaches out, grabbing and ripping up a demonstrator’s banner that reads: ‘Black Lives Matter’

Philadelphia: The incident took place in the Fishtown area Monday night and their actions were slammed by the mayor

Philadelphia: The incident took place in the Fishtown area Monday night and their actions were slammed by the mayor  

Other images showed that, while protesters were turned away by cops after the 6pm curfew and were attacked with tear gas, officers allowed the armed men to stay on the streets. 

Cops were reportedly even seen giving the vigilantes high-fives and taking photos with them. 

At least two people were reportedly injured by the armed white men.  

Questions have been leveled at law enforcement over their different response to the vigilantes compared to their response to the vigilantes.  

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Police Department announced it was launching an Internal Affairs investigation into the matter. 

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw insisted the group is not working on behalf of the force. 

‘I would not describe that group as someone that I would want speaking for me or speaking on behalf of my police department,’ she said Tuesday.  

Mayor Kenney blasted the vigilante group in a press conference Tuesday.   

Philadelphia: Mayor Jim Kenney this week slammed a group of Fishtown residents armed with baseball bats Monday night for being 'antagonistic' and making 'a bad situation worse'

Philadelphia: Mayor Jim Kenney this week slammed a group of Fishtown residents armed with baseball bats Monday night for being ‘antagonistic’ and making ‘a bad situation worse’

Philadelphia: Footage surfaced on social media of a group of white men carrying bats and other objects and threatening protesters near the 26th District police station

Philadelphia: Footage surfaced on social media of a group of white men carrying bats and other objects and threatening protesters near the 26th District police station

‘They picked up baseball bats and, in turn, exemplified the deep divides in our community. Their actions were antagonistic and made a bad situation worse,’ he said. 

‘We do not condone vigilantism. We understand a community’s desire to protect their neighborhood and if they want to do that in peace, we would allow it, regardless of neighborhood.’  

District Attorney Larry Krasner said the armed group ‘shames the entire city.’

‘The video of men marching through the streets of Fishtown armed with bats, a hatchet, and other weapons is disgusting. Reports and images of their innocent neighbors being beaten, threatened, and addressed with hateful speech by them are devastating. And, if confirmed, reports that some police officers witnessed and tolerated this conduct without arresting them only add to the hurt arising from George Floyd’s killing by police,’ Krasner said in a statement Tuesday.    

California: Upland man points his firearm at crowd of protesters marching in the street  

Over in California, shocking footage emerged of a white man pulling a huge firearm from his truck in Upland and pointing it directly into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters marching in the street. 

The man stormed toward the crowd with his weapon threatening the group, who were on the sidewalk on the other side of the street, while he shouted: ‘Right everybody. Back the f**k up!’ 

California: Shocking footage emerged of a white man pulling a huge firearm from his truck in Upland and pointing it directly into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters

California: Shocking footage emerged of a white man pulling a huge firearm from his truck in Upland and pointing it directly into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters

California: The man stormed toward the crowd with his weapon threatening the group, who were on the sidewalk on the other side of the street

California: The man stormed toward the crowd with his weapon threatening the group, who were on the sidewalk on the other side of the street

The shocking incident on Monday afternoon led some protesters to march over the road toward the man and chant at him and the other residents. 

The footage was widely shared on social media and a man, Jacob Bracken, 39, who is believed to be the man in the video was later arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon.

Chicago: White man in full tactical gear defies ‘open carry’ laws in Illinois to turn up to protest with AR-15  

Shocking footage in Chicago showed a white man turning up to a protest in tactical gear and a long AR-15 style rifle over the weekend. 

The man is seen on camera being spoken to by the cops before he takes his gun off and walks away.  

Protesters slammed the actions – and the response of law enforcement – on social media. 

The incident is said to have taken place in Illinois, where it is illegal to ‘open carry’ a firearm.  

‘This white man had a gun to me and my friends face. He was not w/ the police he was just out here instigating. If he had been black he would have been thrown to the ground arrrested and beaten. But he was peacefully tuned away. Because he’s white,’ one person tweeted.   

Chicago: Shocking footage showed a white man turning up to a protest in tactical gear and a long AR-15 style rifle over the weekend

Chicago: Shocking footage showed a white man turning up to a protest in tactical gear and a long AR-15 style rifle over the weekend

Chicago: The man is seen on camera being spoken to by the cops before he takes his gun off and walks away. The incident is said to have taken place in Illinois, where it is illegal to 'open carry' a firearm

Chicago: The man is seen on camera being spoken to by the cops before he takes his gun off and walks away. The incident is said to have taken place in Illinois, where it is illegal to ‘open carry’ a firearm

Florida: Vigilante residents wield their rifles as they block their street from looters 

A group of residents including children held rifles and other weapons as they blocked their road to ‘guard it from looters’ in Florida.

Footage of the group, who were standing next to their cars to block the street, was posted on website LiveLeak Tuesday and appears to have been filmed in Belleview, Florida.  

A group of residents including children held rifles as they blocked their road to 'guard it from looters'

Footage of the group, who were standing next to their cars to block the street, was posted on website Liveleak and appears to have been filmed in Belleview, Florida

A group of residents including children held rifles as they blocked their road to ‘guard it from looters’. Footage of the group, who were standing next to their cars to block the street, was posted on website Liveleak and appears to have been filmed in Belleview, Florida 

The group, who number at least 12, are standing next to their cars and some are holding rifles. 

One man is wearing a military-style helmet, combat boots and pants and is holding a rifle. 

In the footage, filmed by a family in a passing car, an older woman in the car says, ‘he has a gun in the black shirt’ as she refers to the man in the helmet.  

A girl in the car then adds: ‘This is in Belleview.’ 

The residents were allegedly guarding their street to stop looters after stores in many parts of the country were raided during nationwide unrest caused by the death of black man George Floyd

The residents were allegedly guarding their street to stop looters after stores in many parts of the country were raided during nationwide unrest caused by the death of black man George Floyd 

As she turns the car back around, the older woman then says: ‘Look at all these white people. Look at them with their guns.’

Although it isn’t clear from the video, she claims a teenage boy is also standing with a gun. 

‘Look at that little boy, he’s a young man with a gun. He’s like 16,’ she says. 

Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa blasts ‘thugs’ who broke his jaw when they hit him with a hammer during clash between his volunteer vigilantes and ‘hundreds’ of looters ransacking a New York FootLocker 

New York: Guardian Angels clash with looters at Manhattan FootLocker store

In New York, Guardian Angels clashed with hundreds of looters as they tried to steal from a FootLocker athletic shoe store in New York’s Soho neighborhood Tuesday night.

Curtis Sliwa started the Guardian Angels civilian safety patrol as an unarmed, crime prevention volunteer organization to combat crime in New York City’s subways and it has since expanded to 130 cities and 13 countries.

Sliwa said he took a hit in the jaw with a hammer during the melee that held off three waves of ‘thugs’. 

The clash also cost Guardian Angel Aram Sabet vision in his left eye when he suffered a broken eye socket and broken nose. His injuries required 48 stitches. 

Curtis Sliwa said he and his Guardian Angels clashed with hundreds of looters as they tried to steal from a FootLocker athletic shoe store in New York's Soho neighborhood after George Floyd protests Tuesday night. He is picture after the confrontation in a televised interview

Curtis Sliwa said he and his Guardian Angels clashed with hundreds of looters as they tried to steal from a FootLocker athletic shoe store in New York’s Soho neighborhood after George Floyd protests Tuesday night. He is picture after the confrontation in a televised interview

Sliwa claimed victory after the confrontation with the looters, although the clash did cost Guardian Angel Aram Sabet (pictured) vision in his left eye when he suffered a broken eye socket and broken nose. His injuries required 48 stitches

Sliwa claimed victory after the confrontation with the looters, although the clash did cost Guardian Angel Aram Sabet (pictured) vision in his left eye when he suffered a broken eye socket and broken nose. His injuries required 48 stitches

Looters enter and leaving the FootLocker in an image of video footage taken of confrontation

Looters enter and leaving the FootLocker in an image of video footage taken of confrontation

In the footage, a man in a red jacket appears to be pushed out of the store in the confrontation

In the footage, a man in a red jacket appears to be pushed out of the store in the confrontation 

‘It was an all out They did not gain a foot. They did not gain a yard,’ Sliwa said during an interview with Fox News, about the confrontation. 

He said he was with about six Guardian Angels when they learned around 8 p.m. Tuesday that looters were spotted targeting the FootLocker. When they arrived, Sliwa says they found about 35 people stealing from the store.

The Guardian Angels were able to get the looters to drop what they had stolen and chased them away. Sliwa said the safety patrol then remained protecting the store until the looters made their return.

‘They came back for a second bite of the apple,’ he said, describing the group which had returned about two hours later numbering as high as 100 people.

‘We fought them and I got hit with a hammer,’ he recalled of the second wave, which again he said the Guardian Angels were able to fight back.   

The Guardian Angels got the looters to drop what they had stolen and chased them away. Sliwa says the safety patrol remained protecting the store until the looters made their return. They are pictured outside the store from a social media post made by Mohamad Bazzi

The Guardian Angels got the looters to drop what they had stolen and chased them away. Sliwa says the safety patrol remained protecting the store until the looters made their return. They are pictured outside the store from a social media post made by Mohamad Bazzi

Sliwa’s group, unarmed and trained in martial arts, then faced off a larger and still-determined crowd of looters that returned in a third wave around 10:45 p.m., he said.  

‘They gotta fight these thugs and they gotta fight these looters because they think they own our city,’ he said. 

‘I’ll tell them ‘Who’s your daddy. I’m your daddy. Curtis Sliwa.” 

‘You’re not going to (get) another inch,’ Sliwa said speaking directly to the looters. ‘This is our city. Not your city. And that’s where it ends.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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