Members of Kiefer, Mounds and Beggs police departments joined Oklahoma Highway Patrol in managing the crowd and directing traffic in a gathering that spanned part of Highway 67 in Kiefer on Monday afternoon. A strong showing of Trump supporters were there, as well as individuals and organizations dedicated to keeping the peace, should the assembly turn violent.
“We are here to back up our local law enforcement,” said Devon May, who says he’s the Commanding Officer for a group called OK Patriot Response. The group formed in July and has grown to at least 65 members dedicated to “protecting the community.” May says that OK Patriot Response has been trained in disaster response and medical training. He says all members are from Creek County.
Rick Ferran, a Cuban immigrant and former Marine, who has an Instagram following of over 112,000 under the username @unclesamsnation, says he drove up from Florida to participate because he has family in the area. Ferran, who also goes by “The Tank,” says he’s here to support the kids. “Even if they had a different view, they have a right to speak their mind. These kids, they created a float to show support for the man who’s our president. When did we stop having an understanding of what it means to be a proud American?”
The float in question was part of the Kiefer homecoming parade in September. Members of the Kiefer High School junior class constructed a float themed “Trump the Cougars” that featured a student in orange makeup and a trump-like wig behind a podium, while an inmate character with a Hillary Clinton mask.
Mike Workman, a political activist, originally told Sapulpa Times about the parade float the week following the homecoming parade. He described the float as “obviously children being childish, but that’s not the story. The story is the irresponsible adult in the room who didn’t do their job.” Workman said he would be holding a “visibility event” during the Kiefer School Board meeting on Monday at 6:00 pm.
Ferran originally shared a video on Twitter claiming “over 300 Black Lives Matter/Antifa terrorists” were heading to Kiefer High Schools to “terrorize our children, in Kiefer, Oklahoma, because they stood for our first amendment in defense of our president, Donald Trump, and mocked Hillary Clinton.” and that those who were able should show up in support of the students. Ferran did instruct listeners to leave their guns in their vehicles.
Kiefer Police Department confirmed that they were aware of the possibility, but couldn’t confirm the threat.
Mary Murrell, superintendent of Kiefer Schools, addressed the parade float incident in an email to Sapulpa Times:
The annual homecoming parade is meant to be a special time when we come together as a community to celebrate our schools, our students, and our student-athletes. We regret that this year’s event has caused division and diverted attention from this celebration. We have addressed this matter internally and look forward to continuing the already challenging year focused on the safety and academic needs of our students.
Workman did not show up at the school board meeting. The meeting itself was standing room only, but very short, starting at 6:01 p.m. and ending at 6:16 p.m. Board President Julie Mathis told the audience that there was nothing on the agenda regarding the parade float. “You’re welcome to stay, but if that’s what you’re here for, there’s nothing on the agenda regarding the float at the homecoming parade.” During the public comments section, nobody stood to speak to the board. After the meeting, the crowd that had gathered began to disperse.