There’s a group of Sheriff’s across the country who consider themselves “the only legal law enforcement officers in the United States”.
If CSPOA and it’s affiliated hate groups had membership cards, Sheriff’s Howard’s wallet would be full.
Rolling Stone recently published an article titled: “Trump’s Favorite Sheriffs: Part of a Growing Anti-Government Extremist Movement” highlighting this movement by county sheriff’s and their extremist philosophies.
“CSPOA promotes a dangerously wacky interpretation of the Constitution in which sheriffs have the authority to determine whether a law is constitutional, to decide whether to enforce or obey it, and to order federal or state law enforcement officials who try to enforce the law out of their counties.”
It’s no secret either that Sheriff Howard is a big supporter and fan of recently pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The organization in question (CSPOA) founded by Arpaio is called the “Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association”, a group of county-level law enforcement officers who believe that, because they are elected, the authority they hold in their counties exceeds that of both the state and federal government.
“The “constitutional sheriffs” are part of a larger movement that anti-government extremism…. certain to feel legitimized by the Arpaio pardon and other steps (President) Trump has taken that mainstream the movement.”
This unsupportable theory of county supremacy has its roots in the Posse Comitatus – meaning “force of the county” – movement of the Seventies and Eighties. The group was established to defend against perceived attacks on the rights of white Christians by the racist and anti-Semitic William Potter Gale, who went on to be a leader in the militia movement of the Nineties. Gale wrote – under the pen name Col. Ben Cameron, taken from a character in the infamous racist film Birth of a Nation – that “the county Sheriff is the ONLY LEGAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!” He went on to explain that the sheriff must form a posse made up of citizens in his jurisdiction and that anyone opposing such “Christian posses” should be considered a “domestic enemy.”
A search of some Alt-Right materials posted online by people who support these so-called “constitutional sheriff’s” regularly highlight Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, as one of their own:
Oh.. Don’t worry…It get’s creepier:
The CSPOA shares management and board members with the Oath Keepers, a much larger subset of the anti-government extremist movement. Like the CSPOA, the quasi-militia group formed amid the surge of anti-government extremist organizing that followed the election of Barack Obama, and was further invigorated by fears of increased gun control after the Sandy Hook shooting.
Here is Sheriff Howard standing under Oath Keepers signage giving a speech to supporters of the alt right group:
The CSPOA and Oath Keepers are compatriots in this larger movement with the militants who stood by white supremacists in Charlottesville, the Bundys and their supporters who engaged in armed standoffs with law enforcement, and “sovereign citizens” like Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, whom the FBI currently considers one of the country’s greatest domestic terrorism threats.
In case you don’t want to take a shower after watching the video above here’s a screen cap of the Sheriff speaking under an Oath Keepers sign!
You need to look no further than Sheriff Howard’s record over his 12 years at the helm as Erie County Sheriff to see how his policing philosophies, alt-right beliefs and behavior is directly in line with this alt-right radical group.
Remember when Sheriff Howard refused to allow the Department of Justice into the jails to see the atrocities taking place inside the Erie County Holding Center? Rachel Maddow has all the details:
Sheriff Howard is quick to support some constitutional rights just not all of them
He’s publicly denounced the NY Safe Act, and has taken it upon himself to “Not enforce the law”:
One of our favorites was when he told us illegally surveilling people was none of our business:
In 2014, Sheriff Tim Howard went in front of the Erie County Legislature when he essentially told the legislature that his department’s use of high-tech cell phone sniffer surveillance was ‘none of their damn’ business.
So much for that constitution eh.. Sheriff?
It’s no secret either that Howard was a co-chairman of the New York Leadership Team for the Donald Trump campaign. Here he is doing double duty in his uniform at a Trump rally removing protestors from the event. (
Can you say HATCH ACT violation…
Hypocrisy is one of Sheriff Howard’s best traits. We can go on and on but I think you’re getting the point…. (Just search our archives).
We aren’t going to call for Sheriff’s Howard’s apology or resignation again. That’s been done ad nauseam by government leaders, media organizations, non-profits, civil rights groups, political leaders and just about everyone in between.
But the facts on Sheriff Howard are clear. Just like the other 400+ Sheriff’s associated with CSPOA, Howard considers himself “Above the Law”. His reign of terror over this community and atrocious actions over his 12 years in office should officially be coming to an end this November.
Editor’s Note: WNYmedia Network calls on other local media outlets and organizations to hold Sheriff Howard accountable over the next 55 days.
He needs to address the facts in this article, that he is a staunch supporter of Alt-Right groups like CSPOA and the Oath Keepers, and he should denounce their extremist policing philosophies.
Sheriff Howard: Enforce the laws meant to protect the residents of Erie County and stop playing political games with people’s lives.