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Ferndale Police Department building exterior. Photo courtesy City of Ferndale

Ferndale Police officer placed on leave after reportedly stolen files reveal an email sent to Oath Keepers

FERNDALE, Wash. — A Ferndale Police officer has been placed on administrative leave while City of Ferndale officials investigate a possible violation of his terms of employment. This came after national publication published private email communications gleaned from a set of files purportedly anonymously copied from the Oath Keepers group’s servers that appeared to indicate the officer had sent an email to the Washington State chapter asking for information. Oath Keepers is described by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as “a large but loosely organized group of individuals, some of whom have ties to militias.”

According to the raw email source files cited by the national publication and acquired by Whatcom News, someone using an unofficial email address that included the officer’s first and last name, sent an email on February 4th to the email address for the Washington chapter of Oath Keepers. It said the sender was a police officer in Washington looking for information about the group. The email closed with “I’m not looking to be on some Liberal hit list.” It was signed using the officer’s first name.

The officer was placed on administrative leave this morning, October 4th while an internal investigation is conducted, according to a City official.

The City issued this statement today.

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The City received information that one of our police officers had allegedly sent an inquiring email to a group called the Oathkeepers [sic]. Due to the nature of this group, the City has placed the officer on administrative leave pending a full internal investigation.

City of Ferndale (October 4, 2021).

Officials with the City of Ferndale did not specify whether the City’s personnel policies or the police officer’s code of conduct may have been violated.

According to the Oath Keepers’ website, “Oath Keepers 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 is added, “Oath Keepers declare that they will not obey unconstitutional orders, such as orders to disarm the American people, to conduct warrantless searches, or to detain Americans as ‘enemy combatants’ in violation of their ancient right to jury trial.”

Oath Keepers have been associated with a violent uprising at the US Capital on January 6th since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested an Oath Keeper member who “planned his activities on Jan. 6 in advanced coordination with individuals and affiliates of the Oath Keepers.” He pled guilty to charges related to the incident.

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As of September 15th, more than 600 individuals had been arrested for crimes related to the breach of the US Capitol on January 6th, with at least 185 of those charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. That investigation is ongoing.

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