Petition Calls For The National Guard To Disarm Militia Holding One Pennsylvania Town Hostage

Police Chief Kessler has created such an environment of threat and intimidation, local citizens have started a petition to request federal intervention.Image @ TheMorningCall

Police Chief Kessler has created such an environment of threat and intimidation, local citizens have started a petition to request federal intervention.Image @ TheMorningCall

Following a public meeting in the Borough of Gilberton, Pennsylvania, in which armed supporters of the infamous Police Chief Mark Kessler blocked members of the community from entering the building, citizens have created a We The People Petition at Whitehouse.gov calling for federal intervention in the town. The petition asks for the National Guard to  disarm the suspended police chief and his followers, who call themselves the “Constitution Security Force.”

Tensions began in the Borough of Gilberton after the local Chief of Police posted online videos of himself firing automatic weapons while calling for violence against Democrats and making veiled threats toward Secretary of State John Kerry. After it was determined that the weapons used in the videos were the property of the Gilbertson Police Force, the Borough Council called a meeting to discuss disciplinary actions for the videos. Kessler posted another video, in which he called on members of the “Constitutional Security Force,” a band of private militia of which Kessler is the head, to attend the council meeting. Kessler claimed in the video that council members were “conspiring to fire him.” Brandishing automatic weapons, more than a hundred members of the militia arrived at the meeting, creating a situation that Michael Morril of Keystone Progress described as one of the most frightening he has ever experienced. Morril attended the meeting in order to deliver signatures gathered by more than 20,000 U.S. citizens, calling for Kessler to be fired by the Council. He told the Huffington Post in a follow-up e-mail:

” I have been organizing for four decades. I have faced Klansmen in Kentucky, Ustase in Bosnia and police indiscriminately beating demonstrators in Italy. [Wednesday] night in Gilberton was more frightening than any of those situations.”

Residents who were able to speak out at the meeting expressed fear and concern about Kessler’s behavior and speech. One resident stated that Kessler and his supporters are one of the main reasons more people do not live in the Borough. Another man told the council that his wife is afraid of Kessler. Others referred to him as a nut, a liability and a deterrent to the community. The Borough’s insurance carrier also contacted the Mayor’s office after Kessler’s videos were published online, saying that his continued employment could be considered a liability.

Rather than fire Kessler, however, the council chose to place him on a thirty-day suspension. Chief Kessler has already cost the town of Gilberton over $15,000, after a councilman won a lawsuit against him and two other local officials following an incident where he was arrested and strip searched in retaliation for a political speech. One possible reason the Borough council may not be taking steps to fire Kessler is that officials may fear retaliation from him or his supporters. Additionally, because Kessler is the head of the police force in this small borough, it is unlikely that members of Kessler’s militia will be arrested, even after their illegal activities at the public meeting in early August. While the state of Pennsylvania did dispatch helicopters to the public meeting, no further action against the militia has been taken by state officials either.

The petition, which went online early Monday afternoon, has already collected signatures from people all across the country. It reads:

Whereas, the Chief of Police of Gilberton, Pennsylvania have usurped the government of the Town of Gilberton through the use of arms and armed intimidation and Whereas, he has recruited armed vigilantes to block access to town meetings and further has threatened and intimidated town citizens who might speak out in opposition against him and Whereas he has posted videos threatening the life of Secretary of State John Kerry and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; we the people of the United States call on the President of the United States, Barack H. Obama to order the federalizing of the Pennsylvania National Guard to go to Gilberton to disarm the Chief and his gang and restore law and order to the Town of Gilberton.