Target: Mayor Mary Lou Hannon of Gilberton
Goal: Demand Mayor remove police chief who intimidates opponents with his private militia
A leader of an armed band holds a small town hostage, terrifying citizens and intimidating opponents in the Pennsylvania town of Gilberton. Mark Kessler, police chief of the 700-strong community, first came into national attention in a series of YouTube videos whereby he shouted threats at “libtards” including Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations and fired shots from an automatic rifle. Along with open discussion of armed rebellion, Kessler leads a militia group called the Constitution Security Force (CSF), linked to other hard right anti-government organizations such as the Oath Keepers.
During a recent town meeting to discuss discipline for Kessler due to using town property in his videos, his critics’ worst fears were realized. About 100 armed CSF militiamen surrounded the building in an attempt to deny entrance to the public. Activist Michael Morrill, representing a group called Keystone Progress, was one of those who was stopped by Kessler’s men. He told The Huffington Post “I have been organizing for four decades. I have faced Klansmen in Kentucky, Ustase in Bosnia and police indiscriminately beating demonstrators in Italy. [Wednesday] night in Gilberton was more frightening than any of these situations.”
Despite opposition including a petition with 20,000 signatures from Morrill, the Gilberton borough council voted to give Kessler a one-month suspension. Mayor Mary Lou Hannon said she hoped he would return to his post and that she believes the controversy about him “does not leave a bad taste in his mouth.” Kessler should not return. No public official has to take control of a town in a virtual coup while intimidating opponents with a private army. By signing this petition, you will ask that Mayor Hannon and the town officially remove Mark Kessler from his position.
Dear Mayor Hannon,
Recently, the Gilberton Borough Council voted to suspend Police Chief Mark Kessler for one month for using town-owned rifles in a series of YouTube videos whereby he threatened “libtards” including Secretary of State John Kerry while discussing armed revolt against the government. While Kessler’s advocacy of rebellion is concerning enough, his actual actions demand a stronger response from the town.
As you know, Kessler controls a militia group called the Constitution Security Force (CSF). During the Gilberton Borough meeting, Kessler fully answered concerns he may use the CSF as his own private army with a show of force. About 100 militiamen, all armed, surrounded the building and attempted to deny entry to members of the public. Keystone Progress activist Michael Morrill told the Huffington Post that “I have faced Klansmen in Kentucky, Ustase in Bosnia and police indiscriminately beating demonstrators in Italy. [Wednesday] night in Gilberton was more frightening than any of these situations.”
No public official has the right to intimidate citizens through a private militia. By giving Kessler a minor slap on the wrist for his actions, the town of Gilberton has shown that is willing to accept rule by force from a strongman. I ask that you do the right thing and remove Kessler from his position as chief of police.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Benbennick via Wikimedia Commons