Militia groups including "Ghost Squad" and III%er groups gathered for a rally Saturday at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona, Virginia to protest Libre by Nexus, a local company that provides bail money and GPS monitoring to detained immigrants who are awaiting court.
"This Rally is to bring awareness about a local company named Libre Nexus and what they have brought into my community and other communities around the country. This company provides GPS tracking devices to those in the USA illegally," the group's Facebook event said. "By doing, this the company is putting unsuspecting folks at risk in our peaceful community for a large profit."
"This right, right here protects every right that you have," said militiaman Danny Bollinger, holding up a rifle.
"Me attaining my citizenship, I earned that right," added Jorge Solisfraire, who legally immigrated to America and recently attained citizenship. Solisfraire served eight years in the U.S. Navy, and is now a militia member.
About a dozen militiamen arrived at the Government Center for the event. As the event was set to begin, a representative of Nexus arrived on location and officially served a defamation lawsuit to Penny Rutter, one of the event's organizers.
Nexus CEO Michael Donovan had previously condemned the event as racist. "Nexus will stand against white supremacist and war mongering organizations that seek to destabilize our country and promote hate and intimidation against immigrants and minorities," he told Newsleader last month.
"He's real keen on trying to scare people," said Larry Lewis, who was also named in the lawsuit. "I'm open to talk to him at any time. It kinda makes me feel like he has something to hide if he's trying to shut us up right here."
Ace Baker, founder of the "American Warrior Revolution" said that he would sue Nexus for being "racist to legal immigrants."
"Those programs are only offered to illegals. They're not offered to those that are willing to do it the right way."
Before the rally officially got underway, Donovan called Lewis and offered for his group to meet to talk out their issues. Although only a fraction of the group participated, the event was migrated into a dialogue with Lewis at the Nexus campus. The only pre-condition that was set for the meeting: no guns.
"Penny Rutter White Supremacist" and "Larry Lewis White Supremacist" read two banners with images of their respective faces on the company's campus. The signs were taken down as the activists arrived, and given to them as a gesture of good faith.
Employees, including security, for Nexus met with the activists in a company board room. Zachary Cruz, the brother of Parkland school shooter Nicholas Cruz, sat in on the meeting. Zachary is out on a $500,000 bond secured by Nexus after being accused of trespassing on the Marjory Stoneman Douglass High school weeks after the shooting.
"I saw you saying you wanted to talk Larry, and when I saw that, I said 'well then why don't we do that?' That's why you're here," Donovan explained to the activist leaders. "The lawsuit that was served on you both was for saying things that were purporting to be facts, that were not fact, that were not correct. In some cases they inferred illegal activities, and under the law that's called defamation per say. You can't do that."
"If you write me a letter that says that the things that you said which are specifically laid out in the lawsuit are fact, are things that you retract, then I will the lawsuit and there won't be any need for litigation."
"The important thing is to have open dialogue, communication so you can learn from the other people," said Gary Sigler, commander of the Maryland III% Peoples Militia.
"Government abuse isn't just something that happens to immigrants, it's also something that happens to immigrants," Donovan pointed out. Emphasizing the possibility of common ground, he pointed out that he shares skepticism of state entities such as the FBI infiltrating militia organizations.
The rally organizers sparred with Donovan on illegal immigration. "If they get locked up for coming across the border illegally, you're gonna help them. So you're encouraging people sitting on the other side of the border to walk into the United States and say 'hey, I'm here!'"
Donovan responded that an adult making an illegal crossing would be unlikely to make bond.
While the groups parted ways with some ongoing disagreement, the nearly 90-minute meeting proved productive.
"This is wear it's at. I appreciate you inviting us over," concluded Baker.
It is unclear whether Rutter and Lewis will respond to the lawsuit with a retraction or go to court.