A militia group in Bozeman, Montana, is threatening a local judge with arrest after he jailed Ernie Tertelgte, a self-proclaimed “natural living man.” Tertelgte is well-known for confronting local judges in matters of civil law.
Last week, Justice of the Peace Rick West put Tertelgte behind bars for contempt which set off members of a local unorganized militia to consider the possibility of a citizen’s arrest of Judge West.
William Wolf, friend to Tertelgte, said “The animosity between Judge West and Ernie seems to be extreme.”
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said the threat is a serious concern, noting that a threat of arrest is similar to a kidnapping threat.
“When there are threats like this, not only does it affect that person, it affects their family,” Gootkin said. “Like we explained to Wolf, that’s unacceptable. For someone in the family to live in fear, that’s not the way things work.”
“When you start talking about arresting people and kidnapping people, that’s unacceptable and nothing good comes from that,” the Sheriff added.
Local television reporters with KXLH report that the Sheriff has no problem with Wolf’s unorganized militia or their distrust of the government, but the group’s rhetoric is a message he’s heard before.
“I lived through the Freemen, you know, we went through this once before and it’s like whirling disease,” Gootkin said. The Freemen were a group of self-declared Christian Patriots who took up residence outside Jordan, Montana, and engaged in a prolonged armed standoff in 1996 with FBI agents.
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Watch local news coverage of the story below: