Skip to Content

‘It’s very worrisome,’ militia groups a new challenge for police

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00
Karmo Criminal Complaint
Courtesy: USDOJ Criminal Complaint

MADISON (WKOW) -- The presence of militia groups, supposedly at protests to help protect property, is making the largest police group in Wisconsin uncomfortable.

Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association Jim Palmer tells 27 News that these groups are "not helpful."

Palmer made his comments Friday during a taping of Capitol City Sunday.

He said while these unorganized militias are nothing new, they've gained increasing attention for law enforcement.

Most recently federal agents arrested two Missouri men in Pleasant Prairie after receiving a tip they were coming to Kenosha to possibly "loot" and "pick people off." The FBI tracked Michael Karmo and Cody Smith to the La Quinta hotel in Pleasant Prairie on Sept. 1. 

Investigators said they searched the men's vehicle and hotel room, where FBI agents recovered an Armory AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a drone and other materials.

Last month, it was 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who’s seen in videos firing his gun during a protest in Kenosha and now faces charges for killing two people.

"Showing up with long guns doesn't do anything to de-escalate the strong passions and emotions that we see surrounding all of this,” said Palmer. “I don't think it's helpful and it's very worrisome.”

Palmer added while law enforcement supports gun ownership it's difficult for officers to track who might have other intentions.

As protests continue across the nation and in Wisconsin Palmer worries Militia groups are placing additional challenges on departments when officers' intentions are to contain demonstrations if violence starts to occur.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

Skip to content