Massachusetts police in standoff with armed group that ‘does not recognize our laws’

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Massachusetts State Police remain in a standoff with heavily armed individuals that started at around 4 a.m. off an interstate highway.  

During a traffic stop early Saturday morning, approximately eight men carrying rifles and handguns fled into the nearby woods off Route 95/128. Police say the men claim to be from a group that “does not recognize our laws.” 

State Police Col. Christopher Mason told Boston 25 News that the men have identified themselves as part of a group called “Rise of the Moors.” 

The scene, from a distance, looking northbound on Rt 95/128 (Mass State Police Twitter)

“Their self-professed leader wanted it very much known their ideology is not anti-government,” Mason said. “Our investigation will provide us more insight into what their motivation, what their ideology is.” 

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The group has posted videos to YouTube throughout the incident, insisting the group is peaceful. The men in the videos also claim they are abiding by “federal laws and judicial opinions” of the United States, but do not specify state laws. 

At least one of the men claims he has a body camera that has recorded the entire incident. One video showed the men standing in the middle of the highway holding a Moroccan flag. 

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The men said they have reassured the police they are not sovereign citizens, black identity extremists, anti-police or anti-government. The last video was posted around 7 a.m.

The men made no threats, according to the Wakefield Police Department

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Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) officers arrested two of the individuals at around 6:40 a.m., handing them over to State Police. 

Police issued a shelter-in-place order for Wakefield and Reading residents until the issue resolves. 

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State Police insist they are seeking a peaceful resolution to the situation. The highway remains closed off while the situation persists. 

A heavy police presence remains in effect in the area. No shots have been fired. 


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