According to a report from Gothamist, Jersey City police officers are among 37 New Jersey law enforcement officers and first responders tied to the far right militia group known as Oath Keepers.
After reviewing “membership rolls obtained by an anonymous hacker” and cross referencing them with phone numbers and addresses of police and corrections officers, Gothamist identified several officers, as yet unidentified, hailing from Jersey City.
While the Oath Keepers website says it is “a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” it has been described by The Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group espousing “a number of conspiracy and legal theories associated with the sovereign citizen movement and the white supremacist posse comitatus movement.”
According to federal prosecutors, Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, spoke on the phone with a senior member of the group for 97-seconds before the member, along with other Oath Keepers, took part in a military-style formation in order to breach the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In total, eighteen Oath Keepers have been charged in the insurrection.
Craig Iacouzzi, a detective working for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office was listed in the hacked membership roll. Iacouzzi reportedly told Gothamist that his involvement only went as far as getting an “email subscription” to receive “current events and a different take on mainstream media perspective.” He had not, he said, met or spoken to anyone from the group.
HCPO spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said that her office was investigating and would seek guidance from the Attorney General’s Office.
The Attorney General’s office has also also reportedly launched an investigation.
Calling the allegations “disturbing,” Councilman-at-large Rolando Lavarro is calling for an investigation. “We need to urgently establish rules that ensure all our city’s employees’ personal associations and conduct are consistent with our commitment to service, as well as the values and vision of our City. Anyone violating such rules should be dealt with swiftly if we are going to prevent further infiltration of JCPD’s ranks. Moreover, we need to send the message loud and clear that such extremism is not welcome and will not be tolerated in Jersey City.”