South Carolina Republican Kershaw County co-chairman Jeff Mattox is being asked to step down after he endorsed a Facebook article titled “When Should You Shoot A Cop.” The article was posted on the Facebook page of the Kershaw County Patriots, a Tea Party group “specializing in maniacal anti-government paranoia” of which Mattox is a proud member:
A South Carolina Republican county co-chair is embroiled in a controversy over “liking” a Facebook article that advocated shooting law enforcement officers.
Jeff Mattox, who is also a tea party activist with the Kershaw County Patriots, gave digital plaudits to an article entitled “When Should You Shoot A Cop” posted on the Patriot’s Facebook page.
“That’s what it means to have an unalienable right. If you have the unalienable right to speak your mind (a la the First Amendment), then you have the right to KILL “government” agents who try to shut you up. If you have the unalienable right to be armed, then you have the right to KILL ”government” agents who try to disarm you,” argued a poster at copblock.org
The article concludes, “The next time you hear of a police officer being killed ‘in the line of duty,’ take a moment to consider the very real possibility that maybe in that case, the ‘law enforcer’ was the bad guy and the ‘cop killer’ was the good guy.”
Kershaw County Republican chair Chris Oviatt told Politico he had asked Mattox to step down from the party.
As a result of the inflammatory Facebook article, which compares American law enforcement officers and agencies to Communist and Nazi regimes, Kershaw county police officers are on higher alert and reportedly wearing body armor. Sheriff Jim Matthews called the posting “irresponsible” and “hateful.” He also expressed concern that the Patriots might be linked to the Sovereign Citizen movement, which the FBI describes as “anti-government extremists who…believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority.”
Mattox defended himself by saying, “Police sometimes do overstep their bounds, but advocating shooting a cop? No. It’s just kind of a conversation.” However, Mattox himself has posted a YouTube video called “End of Liberty,” which lambasts “out of control cops.”