This disturbing video was produced by an extremist libertarian organization called Freedom’s Phoenix and another group that goes by 4409. The individuals attended President’s Barack Obama’s townhall event on healthcare in Phoenix Monday carrying assault rifles and handguns. The individual who interviewed one of the armed townhall attendees is Ernest Hancock, an online radio host who was himself armed with a 9mm handgun. [Update 08/19/09 22:243 One of TPR’s readers, MrC, noted in the comments that 4409 is not a “group,” rather 4409 is, MrC says:
the YouTube alias of Jason Shelton, the person who made the video. He is a member of Freedoms Phoenix and other organizations at the far fringe (which is saying something) of the Ron Paul movement.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez interviewed Hancock, which was posted on Freedom’s Phoenix website. Here’s a portion of that interview, as excerpted by Freedom’s Phoenix:
Sanchez: Many of you were shocked when you saw an image for the first time a video during an Obama demonstration where a well dressed black American man who had not only a AR-15 strapped to his shoulder and 9 millimeter Glock in a holster on his hip. There is his picture. This was an event in Phoenix, Arizona, he was right outside where President Obama was speaking. This American man was outside with about 12 other demonstrators who were also packing a loaded weapons near the president.
In this video he is being interviewed by Ernest Hancock who is the publisher of an online news web portal www.FreedomsPhoenix.com and has a internet radio show called “Declare Your Independence” with Ernest Hancock.
Hancock: I was there and I interviewed the man named Chris, there at the demonstration. I also interviewed him for 2 hours on my show “Declare Your Independence” this morning. I am also broadcast on www.RepublicBroadcasting.org, where a lot of people heard it. [Plays clip of the interview filmed by Hancock.]
Sanchez: A lot of levity there do you know him?
Hancock: Yes, I have known Chris for over 2 years. He has been a part of the Lovelution that swept the county around Dr. Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign. It all started in Arizona, I was the one who came up with the Revolution Love logo”
Hancock, however, is not just a gun-toting radio host. According to a report published by Talking Points Memo:
Ernest Hancock, the online radio host who staged an interview with an assault rifle-wielding cohort at the Obama event in Arizona yesterday — and was himself armed with a 9 millimeter pistol — was a vocal supporter and friend of right-wing anti-government militia members who were convicted of conspiracy and weapons charges in the 90s.
And in an interview today with TPMmuckraker, Hancock said he still believes the Viper Militia case was “manufactured” by the same government that manufactured Waco and lied to its people about 9/11.
The federal government initially accused the Arizona Viper Militia of plotting to blow up federal buildings, which the twelve-member group cased on videotape.
In July 1996, after a grand jury indicted the suspects, federal agents “seized about 90 high-powered rifles and hundreds of pounds of a bomb-making compound from the shabby bungalow of a man whom officials identified as the ordnance specialist of a local paramilitary group,” the New York Times reported at the time.