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AZ GOP Candidate at Anti-Immigrant Rally: ‘I Didn’t Know Who Those Militia Folks Were, I Just Let Them Follow Me Around’

On Tuesday, Arizona GOP candidate for governor Frank Riggs campaigned alongside fellow GOPers at an anti-immigration rally in Oracle. During the protest, the local media reported Riggs was surrounded by a militia group offering protection.

Now, the former Congressman is insisting he did not hire the armed men seen following him around and didn’t even know who they were.

The Oracle protest is one of the growing number of actions by anti-immigrant groups attempting to block the children from Central America from entering their towns.

At one point, the Oracle anti-immigrant protesters even stopped a bus full of children. The bus turned out to be full of campers from the local YMCA, not immigrant kids at all.

Although glad for the press showing him supporting the anti-immigrant cause (even after the bus incident), candidate Riggs was not at all pleased it was being reported he used a protection detail of militia men during the protest.

“I didn’t bring anybody along. You know, I’m a big boy and perfectly capable of protecting myself,” Riggs told TPM on Wednesday.

He did acknowledge that while he may not have paid them, though, there was, in fact, a burly group of armed men following him around with weapons and matching shirts looking a whole lot like his security crew during the rally.

“There were individuals there who were dressed, outfitted as militia types,” Riggs explained. “To be honest with you they followed me around, I guess thinking that they might provide some kind of security to me.”

It also seems that having gun-toters he neither knew nor hired didn’t bother Riggs enough to even ask who they were, since, according to the TPM report, he never bothered to inquire.

He did say, however, that they seemed like friendly militia-types and he recognized that they – and their guns – had a right to be there at the rally.

“From what I observed they conducted themselves in a very appropriate manner,” he told TPM,  still insisting the armed followers were strangers. “They were very discreet.”

Photo Credit: Twitter (Militia following Riggs at anti-immigration rally)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.