ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — A Douglas County, Minn., pastor called for a citizens' militia to form to support local law enforcement and said he expects President Donald Trump to order martial law
The Rev. Darryl Knappen of Cornerstone Church in Alexandria, Minn., made the comments in a Saturday, Jan. 9, video titled “Is Martial law coming soon? Listen up.” He posted the video to Facebook just days after the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that occurred just after a Trump rally in Washington, D.C. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick was overpowered and beaten by rioters, and died Jan. 7, according to The New York Times.
Knappen's video has more than 56,000 views, according to Facebook.
Knappen said he was motivated to post the video because he cares deeply about the country and he believes the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. Claims of widespread fraud in the election have been dismissed in dozens of court cases in states around the country, and Trump's supporters and legal team have yet to present credible evidence.
Previously, Knappen and two other churches had sued Gov. Tim Walz for pandemic-related restrictions placed on Minnesota churches. Knappen said he is also part of an effort to recall Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
In the Jan. 9 video, Knappen says he would have been a member of the Black Robe Regiment, a group of clergy encouraging their parishioners to fight tyranny during the American Revolutionary War.
“I was tempted to wear my black robe today to open it up and show my AR-15 underneath it,” he said. “But I thought that would be way too graphic for any of you or Facebook to allow. … I would have been a part of that movement back then and I may be a part of that movement today.”
He says that the country’s enemies are “vast and wide” and include the deep state, globalists, Marxists and communists. He voiced support for a recent theory about election fraud, that Italian military computers changed votes on American voting machines.
On Nov. 12, a national coalition of election security officials — which included the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Association of State Election Directors — announced that "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," per reporting by USA Today.
Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolberson said local militias are not needed and could create a dangerous situation.
He said local law enforcement already has a way to summon additional help if needed, through mutual aid agreements with other law enforcement agencies in Minnesota.
“We’ve always had numerous deputies and officers respond as needed,” Wolberson said. “I can’t predict the future of course, but I would say that under normal circumstances, even extreme normal circumstances, we don’t need additional help other than what I just stated.”
He said it could be dangerous if people self deploy without the awareness of law enforcement. But he didn’t rule out the possibility of relying on such help in dire situations.
“It would take really extreme conditions for us to even start to consider it,” he said. “If we had that circumstance occur, it would have to be done with someone from an outside group contacting us and making us aware and never doing anything without permission or recognition that they even exist and I don’t foresee this occurring.”
On Monday, Knappen told Forum News Service that he would be disappointed if Trump does not announce martial law, but that he would recover.
“If President Trump does not enact martial law and the insurrection act, perhaps both, in the next few days, he will be violating his oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “I could not be more serious. I am deadly serious. If he does not do that — and I have every expectation that he will do that — if he does not do that, he will be violating his oath of office, which he promised he would never do.
“I will ask the Lord to give me grace, which he’s done before and he gave me grace under President Barack Obama to be a good citizen and God will give me grace to do it again.”