Indiana Oath Keepers Says Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer “Is NOT a Member” of Their Group
The Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers has released a statement distancing themselves from Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer, who they say is not a member of their group.
Schaffer was arrested in Columbus, IN on January 17 for his participation in this month’s pro-Trump riot at the Capitol. Following his arrest, The New York Times reported that authorities believed Schaffer to be a member of the Oath Keepers, an organized, far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers who planned the invasion of the building in advance. Schaffer was wearing an Oath Keepers hat in a widely circulated photo taken inside the Capitol and has expressed similar views in several interviews over the years.
But in a new statement, the Indiana Oath Keepers deny any links to Schaffer, even as they fail to mention him by name:
“Indiana Oath Keepers does not and has never sponsored, planned or funded any activities that involve riots, violence or unlawful actions. No IOK members were sent to Washington DC on January 6th nor did IOK leadership ask for volunteers to travel to Washington DC. IOK encourages the rule of law by supporting law enforcement and emergency response personnel in the lawful exercise of their duties. The individual arrested in Columbus, Indiana and was wearing an Oath Keepers (not Indiana Oath Keepers) hat in the US Capitol building on January 6th is NOT a member of Indiana Oath Keepers.”
The statement does not make it clear if Schaffer is a member of another branch of the Oath Keepers despite the fact that he resides in Indiana.
Over the weekend, Indiana Public Media reported that “the US Attorney and Schaffer’s legal team mutually agreed to handle all proceedings in Washington.” Schaffer’s expedition from Indiana to D.C. was expected to take place shortly.
After Schaffer turned himself in, the FBI Indianapolis Field Office indicated he faces 6 charges, including spraying Capitol police with ‘bear spray.’ ”
Schaffer was also charged with “unlawful entry into restricted buildings or grounds,” which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison that could rise to a maximum of 10 years if injuries or weapons were involved.
The full list of charges is as follows:
- “Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority”
- “Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business”
- “Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds”
- “Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building”
- “Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building”
- “Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building”
When word of his involvement in the Capitol riots spread, his bandmates issued a collective statement distancing themselves from the violence but stopped short of publicly disagreeing with his political views. Vocalist Stu Block indicated he supported the protests until they turned violent, and later deleted comments and banned fans who pointed that out.
A number of folks who donated to the Kickstarter campaign for an upcoming Iced Earth book publicly renounced their fandom and demanded refunds, posting angry comments on the book’s crowdfunding page.
The guitarist has been quite open about his far-right political views for years, openly discussing his mistrust of government (with a special emphasis on the federal reserve), asserting his belief that Trump’s loss in the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election was tipped by illegal immigrants, speaking out in favor of arming teachers to prevent school shootings, and claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax.