Oath Keepers Call to Action: Stand and Defend Free Speech at Berkeley Patriots Rally, April 15, 2017

Oath Keepers Call to Action:  Stand and Defend Free Speech at Berkeley Patriots Rally, April 15, 2017

Oath Keepers Operation First Defenders

Calling on all Oath Keepers (and all three percenters, military veterans, patriot police officers, bikers, and all other brave American patriots):

Seeking capable volunteers for an overt Oath Keepers security detail to protect people during the “Patriots Day Free Speech Rally” to be held on April 15, 2017, at 12PM PDT, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 2151 M.L.K. Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704.  

Team Leader for the Oath Keepers on the ground April 15 will be John Karriman (Missouri police academy defensive tactics instructor and team leader on both of our Ferguson operations in 2014-2015).

Contact email for security volunteers:


It’s time, once again, to step up and stand in the breach to defend the rights of the American people to free speech and assembly, in the face of radical leftists who use violence and the threat of violence to shut down and silence free speech they don’t like (just like we did with roving security teams at the Inauguration in Washington DC, on January 20, 2017).

Confirmed Oath Keepers members will be given priority for this April 15 detail, but if you are from another group, or a qualified individual with the right training or experience, please contact us as well (but please understand there will be a vetting process).   If you are leadership from another patriot organization that would like to help with security by sending your own security detail to this event, please contact the event organizer directly, or email us and we will put you in touch with the event organizers and also establish lines of communication with our security team leadership.

Our local Alameda County Oath Keepers chapter has committed fully to this operation.  In addition, one of our local Bay Area members, a young Marine Afghanistan veteran, is part of the event organizing team for the event sponsor, Liberty Revival Alliance.    This means we have the necessary combination of solid event sponsor leadership and effective local Oath Keepers leadership that we like to see to conduct such an operation.  And with John Karriman agreeing to fly out to California to be the team leader on the ground for our Oath Keepers security element, we also will have an extremely experienced and respected field team leader our members from around the nation know and trust.

John Karriman on Roof-top Duty as a Team Leader During 2014 Ferguson Riots. NOTE: This photo is meant only to show you who John is. It does NOT mean we will be open carrying at this event – we will not. 

I (Stewart Rhodes) will also be there in person, because I never ask you to do anything I am not willing to do myself.  But John Karriman will be the man in charge of our security detail.

There will be other groups assisting the event organizers with security, such as the group Two Million Bikers, and we look forward to working along-side them, but we want to make it clear that we will be in charge only of our people, acting as volunteers to protect people against assault as they exercise their right to free speech.  We will not be in charge of the the overall security for the event, as that is under the control of Liberty Revival Alliance, the event organizer.

Those of you who want to simply attend and celebrate free speech are of course welcome to just show up (keeping in mind the potential violence, you should come prepared to defend yourselves even if not on the security detail).   We will do all in our power to keep people safe, but bear in mind this will be a potentially dangerous environment, given the intent of the violent left who will try to shut it down.

If you cannot make it to the event, but want to help support this operation, and especially help with the necessary travel expenses/gas money, supplies and logistics for our Oath Keepers volunteers, please make a donation here:


We appreciate your support!  Any funds leftover will be used for future operations to protect people at other public events.



If you are able-bodied,  and have applicable training and experience (such as police and military veterans with riot control training, personal security detail/body-guard experience, police or infantry veteran, or other applicable training and experience), and can keep a cool head, and be the “quiet professional” who is there to be a defender, not to engage in shouting matches, then you are the kind of man we want on this detail (much like during our Ferguson operations when we put a premium on well-trained, capable, serious professionals who could keep cool under pressure).  This will be an overt security detail, and our members are encouraged to wear their Oath Keepers gear.

In particular, we call on our police veterans and retired police officers to participate in this security operation, since your training, experience, and capabilities are especially valuable in such circumstances.    We will place you in leadership positions and also ask you to serve as liaisons to the local and state LEOs who will be on scene.

I also want to put a special shout out to my brother infantry veterans, whether Army or Marine Corps.  Your service amply demonstrates that you were willing to risk all to fight foreign enemies, but now you are needed to defend liberty here at home with the same commitment and resolve.  And your particular training and experience will be valuable on the ground.

We likewise welcome fire-fighters, EMTs, or other first responders to participate.  Your skillsets will be much needed and appreciated.

NOTE:  Just because we list particular backgrounds and experience does not mean we only want those skillsets.  if you are a veteran with other training and experience that you believe can be of help on this detail, please volunteer.

And even if you are not prior service, if you have other training or experience that you think is applicable, please volunteer by emailing us at  berkeley@oathkeepers.org



This event is being organized by Rich Black, of Liberty Revival Alliance, who was the organizer for the March 4 Trump rally in the same location which was attacked by violent leftists on March 4, 2017.


At that March 4 event, communist flag flying, American flag burning, radical leftists from groups such as Anti-fa (I prefer to call them “LEFTY-FA” because they act just like Brownshirts), and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), attacked the Trump supporters just for being there, and for being Trump supporters.   That was their stated intent – to shut it down, just as they shut down the Milo Yiannopoulos event sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans on February 1, 2017.   And the radical leftists are openly stating that they will do all they can to shut down this rally on April 15.

Unfortunately, at both the February 2 Milo event, and at the March 4 rally, the Berkeley PD utterly failed to take effective measures to protect people from violent assault, including being hit in the head with flag poles, being sprayed with pepper spray, and being assaulted by multiple assailants, resulting in severe beatings.   If not for the actions of a handful of brave and prepared patriot defenders that day, such as Kyle Chapman (aka “Based Stickman” – and props to him, for stepping up), the beatings by the leftist thugs would have been far worse.   In sharp contrast to other departments, such as Salem, OR , where the local PD put themselves between the Trump supporters and the masked “Black Block” leftists and were very effective in keeping them apart, the Berkeley PD did not even attempt to do so on March 4.

Watch these two videos to see the contrast:

In the above video, the Oregon cops did it right.  Hats off to them!   In the below video, it is clear the Berkeley PD didn’t even try:

It is because of that failure, twice now, of the Berkeley PD to defend people from felonious assault, or even try to keep the two sides apart, that we feel honor bound to step in.  We certainly do hope that this time around the Berkeley PD will step up their game and actually try to keep people safe, but since hope is not an operational plan, we will be there to do it if they won’t.

Why are we going?    Because duty, honor, and our oaths demand it.    Because free thought, free speech, and the right to peaceably assemble are non-negotiable core human rights, fundamentally essential to a republican form of government (to self-government by the people), and expressly protected by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution we all swore to defend.   Because without free speech, there is no free America, and there is no free world.    There can be no such thing as a “no free speech zone” in the Founders Republic.  There can be no such thing as “no-go zones” where patriotic Americans cannot go, under threat of violence from America hating Marxist thugs (as always, we stand in defense of the free speech rights of all Americans, but it is the far left at the moment that has declared war on free speech and assembly).

Berkeley then – the Epicenter of the College “Free Speech Movement”

Berkeley Now: the Epicenter of the College “No Free Speech” (or “F – Free Speech!”) Movement. 

All of us who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and were willing to risk our lives in the defense of our nation and our communities while in service, need to step up now to defend the peaceful rally participants who will be there on April 15 to take a stand for free speech.   And then we need to do the same at all future rallies where there are threats of violence intended to shut down free speech.  As always, we will stand up for the right to free speech and assembly for all Americans, regardless of their politics or views.

Remember, we Oath Keepers call ourselves “Guardians of the Republic” and our motto is “not on our watch!”   This is a matter of duty.   We have an obligation to be defenders of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people, as we have already done on many, many occasions, such as when we protected recruiting centers across the nation against terrorists after the Chattanooga, TN attack, when we protected shop owners and residents of Ferguson Missouri against violent arsonists who threatened to murder them (there were apartments above the shops with families living in them), when we stepped up and directly backed local police and their families as part of our Operation Backstop (aka Operation Back Our Blue), offering our help after the deadly terrorist attacks on police across the nation, and when we protected attendees at Trump’s Inauguration in DC on Jan 20 (and also protected some of the attendees of the “Deploraball” the night before), and when we provided both overt and covert security details at March 4 Trump rallies across the nation on March 4, and again at MAGA rallies across the nation on March 25.

Oath Keeper MARSDOC Marine veteran standing guard over Natalie during Ferguson riots.   A modern example of the code of chivalry in action.

May we live up to the expectations of the men and women who went before us, and who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to this nation, and to whom we owe our own fullest measure of devotion in ensuring that their sacrifice was not in vain.   It is now our watch, and as we all know, freedom isn’t free.  It must be defended, even if it costs us all we have to give.  And clearly, now in America, free speech won’t defend itself, as it is under direct assault by people who hate their own nation, hate the Constitution, and hate free speech.   Let us be the “First Defenders” who are foremost in the ranks in defense of the First Amendment.

For the Republic,

Stewart Rhodes

Please help support this operation by making a donation here:


We hate to have to ask for donations, but without them, we would not be able to carry out this mission.  We appreciate your support!  Any funds leftover will be used for future operations to protect people at other public events.  And please consider joining Oath Keepers here.  Many hands make light work.




Stewart Rhodes appeared on The Liberty Brothers Radio Show on Sunday night to discuss the new Call to Action to defend free speech at the April 15 free speech rally.

About Author

Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.