ANSWER organizer assaulted by Minuteman member

Excerpts from an ANSWER Coalition press release.

Police arrest Minutemen member Tyler Joseph Froatz for weapons arsenal and assault.Statement from Sarah Sloan, National Staff Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, who was assaulted by Froatz.

On Tuesday, May 1, at approximately 1:00 pm, I was assaulted by Tyler Joseph Froatz. The assault took place in Malcolm X Park during set up for the May Day Immigrant Rights Rally. Mr. Froatz was arrested following the assault.

Tyler Joseph Froatz is a member of the Minutemen. A.N.S.W.E.R. and others have been protesting the Minutemen nationwide – in Los Angeles, at Columbia University in NYC, at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and elsewhere.

The Minutemen are not simply another conservative organization with xenophobic and racist ideas. They are an armed vigilante organization. Their members include many people with longstanding ties to white supremacist and terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party. Their armed border patrols are designed to popularize and sanctify armed intimidation against immigrants.

On Tuesday, May 1, local Minutemen member Tyler Joseph Froatz was arrested at the immigrant rights rally following his unprovoked, violent assault. Mr. Froatz was found to be in possession of two knives, one of them with a 12-inch blade – a flare gun and a stun gun. In a subsequent search of his vehicle and apartment, police found what is reported to be a large arsenal of rifles, handguns, ammunition, swords, bows, arrows, machetes, a grenade and grenade launcher. Mr. Froatz also had literature and graphic material depicting violent assaults against immigrants, including pregnant women and children.

The Minutemen are just a tip of a racist and xenophobic iceberg. The Minutemen’s reputation has been sanitized as they are given ample coverage on Fox News, CNN’s Lou Dobbs and other mainstream media outlets.

The Minutemen and their racist and right-wing supporters openly promote armed vigilantism. The arrest of Mr. Froatz after his violent assault on an A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer proves once again that Minutemen spokespersons and organizers not only preach the rhetoric of anti-immigrant violence but they are armed to the teeth.

The Minutemen represent a racist poison, but all of those in the government and mainstream media who have helped create an anti-immigrant hysteria in the country are responsible too.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and all other progressive organizations who mobilized on May 1 and earlier will continue to campaign for immigrant rights and full legalization. We will expose the Minutemen and the forces of racism and bigotry, and we will continue to march with millions of other people around the country.

More on this as I know more. Yes, Sarah is a friend.

  • DJ

    “In a subsequent search of his vehicle and apartment, police found what is reported to be a large arsenal of rifles, handguns, ammunition, swords, bows, arrows, machetes, a grenade and grenade launcher.”

    I find it interesting (and a bit disturbing) that these items are considered indicative of criminal intent. In my state, everything on the list except the grenade is perfectly legal, unless used in an unlawful manner. An SKS rifle (which, incidentally, is classified as a “curio or relic” by ATF) comes with a grenade launcher attached to the muzzle that is difficult to remove; the grenades, of course, are classified somewhat differently and are not available to the typical gun owner and the launcher serves no purpose without them.

    In a democratic society, we don’t get to punish people until they actually commit a crime. The man assaulted your friend and has been arrested and should be punished. Throwing in the “large arsenal” (Compared to what?) sounds dramatic, but it confuses one issue (the crime of assault) with another (the gun rights issue). They have little if anything to do with each other; while some racists and some criminals are also gun enthusiasts, not all gun enthusiasts are racists and/or criminals. Some of my liberal friends here in Utah (yes, there are a handful of liberals here) have substantial “arsenals”– but not for criminal or racist reasons.

  • He was a DC resident arrested on federal land. Carrying a 12 inch knife is almost certainly illegal. As is possessing much of what he had in his DC apartment, no doubt.

    That some could have such weapons and not be racist thugs of course doesn’t mean a Minutemen member isn’t.

    And since it happened on federal land, these are federal charges. That’s why FBI is involved.

  • DJ

    I don’t debate that he was a racist thug, and I don’t support the Minutemen or what they stand for. But while I don’t like the idea of racist thugs having weapons– for that matter I don’t like the idea of racist thugs existing– fortunately the sale of weapons (and the right to exist) is not decided by what one believes, else the Bushies would have all the guns and that could be very bad news indeed.

    On a more serious note, the article (which I do understand you are not the author of) doesn’t appear to specify where the apartment was located or what the local laws may or may not have prohibited. Bows and arrows and machetes, for example, are sold over the counter in many states. This suggests that the weapons were mentioned not because they were illegal, but to elicit fear in the reader.

    You wrote, “That some could have such weapons and not be racist thugs of course doesn’t mean a Minutemen member isn’t.” Let us not forget (as the media does far too often) that the reverse of what you said is also true: That some could have such weapons and be racist thugs doesn’t mean the vast majority are. It’s too easy to fall into rural/urban sterotypes, which only serves to promote extremism on both sides (which the Minutemen are doing quite well already).

  • The news article I linked to said he was arrested in DC by the FBI and his apartment was in DC. I would suspect DC, like most big cities, has strict gun control.

    This is, I think, the same urban/rural debate that John Dean mentioned once. To someone in the country, gun control means you want to take away my rifles, to an urban dweller it means, we don’t want AK’s on the street.

  • DJ

    Well, you know us rural folk: we love AK’s on the streets. If we only had streets!

    (Orson Scott Card’s “Empire” gives a fictional but intriguing account of the potential of the U.S. urban/rural conflict to spin out of control.)

  • If I lived in the country like you, I’d no doubt have a rifle or two. But here in the fringes of the burbs, if I shot at a rabbit with a rifle, there’s still enough houses nearby to make insuring a safe shot not a safe proposition.

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