by Robin Kemp
UPDATE: CLARIFIES the four ex-members, not Thayer, claimed Morrow Police asked for their help
The Clayton Crescent has learned that four members of the Georgia III% Martyrs militia group conducted surveillance of the Black Lives Matter march in Morrow and in other cities on the same day, which led to their ouster from the group.
Previously, The Clayton Crescent reported the group told a reporter for WNYC that it had had no presence at the march. As part of a larger story about militia groups in the U.S., producer Micah Loewinger of WNYC’s “On The Media” and Hampton Stall of MilitiaWatch had been tracking militia groups’ use of the Zello communications app.
Loewinger contacted The Clayton Crescent to find out whether reporter Robin Kemp had seen any militia members at the event, based on chatter on Zello from someone who claimed he and three others from the Georgia III% Martyrs were there at the request of Morrow Police.
In the recording, one of the four men claimed, “When Pain, Evo, J3, and myself rolled up at Southlake Mall and assisted the Morrow Police Department, we were in full battle rattle, and Pain even sighted in on [aimed at] somebody and they [Morrow PD] didn’t mess with us.”
Georgia III% Martyrs leader Justin Thayer, who goes by the nickname “Slayer,” told The Clayton Crescent that he kicked out the four members because they surveilled the march without permission.
“We have some guys I call ‘storm chasers,” Thayer said. “That same night, they went to Gainesville, Macon, went all over. That’s when I had to discharge them. That’s not a defensive posture and there’s no reason to run around chasing a storm.”
Thayer confirmed that the four men identified by nickname in the Zello recording were the same ones he kicked out of his group.
“Three of them went to another III% group. One went to the Boogaloo Boys,” he said.
According to Thayer, none of the men were from Clayton County. Two of the men are brothers from Covington, one of whom was involved with the Georgia Security Force III% Militia headed by Chris Hill. A third man “found us on Facebook and he recruited his friend.” Those men, Thayer said, are from Calhoun.
Thayer said his group splintered off from Hill’s in February because Thayer felt Hill had begun to incorporate ideas beyond the Constitution, bringing “negative stigmatism of three percenters…getting away from the traditional morals and values of it, just a lot of negative rhetoric….putting all kinds of twists and beliefs and ideologies in there.”
Thayer stated that his group does not oppose “Republicans, Democrats, libertarians–the Constitution says ‘all people.’ We will protect and defend any and everybody, different races and religions, because the Constitution doesn’t discriminate.”
He added that his group never told those four men to get on top of any buildings, as the unidentified speaker on the recording had claimed. He could not confirm whether they had done so but said he had “issued a stand down order” to the men.
“We’ve definitely never been on any rooftops,” Thayer said, adding that it’s not his group’s style to go out looking for trouble.
“We take strictly a defensive posture,” he said. “We don’t go to counter protests, we don’t go bounty hunting or anything like that. We’re here strictly to protect our cities and it has to be defensive only.”
As for the speaker’s claim that they were there at the request of Morrow Police, which former Chief Jimmy Callaway denied, Thayer said, “That was completely false [what the four claimed] about the Morrow Police Department [asking for their help]. When the riots were starting, we called around to different sheriff’s offices and police departments and let them know we’re here if they need us.”
No agency took them up on the offer, he said: “There’s too much liability for everyone involved.”
Thayer’s group prompted attention after members were photographed providing armed security to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon devotee running for the U.S. House in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a cryptocurrency mogul running in her first election to keep the seat to which Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her.
Thayer said members of the Georgia III% Martyrs met Greene in Catoosa County in August. “She was very impressed with us, and we asked her to do [security for] the one with her and Kelly Loeffler,” he said. “After that got done, Kelly Loeffler asked us to stay.”
Thayer also said his group has offered its services to Johsie Cruz and Derrick Grayson, “and some other candidates. If anyone called us, we would be open to exercising our rights for them, also.”
Members of the Georgia III% Martyrs are organized into “different squads in different areas,” Thayer said, but “all squad leaders report to me.”
On Sunday night, members of the group were in Rome for the Trump rally. “I sent a few people. It went well. There were a few people driving by and cursing everybody out.”
As for Election Day, Thayer said his group has no plans to open carry near the 150-foot boundary outside polling places.
“We’re going to sit back, sit by,” he said. “We’ll all be together at different rendezvous points in case something started happening, but we’re not going to be out in public anywhere.”