‘Rise of the Moors’ militia group arraigned in Malden District Court after highway standoff

Members of the Rise of the Moors militia group appeared in court Tuesday during a chaotic arraignment session, punctuated by interruptions by defendants, outbursts on Zoom by supporters following the proceedings, and exasperation by the judge on the bench.

“I have not committed a crime,” said Quinn Cumberlander, 40, the first of the men to be arraigned, in a refrain many of the group repeated throughout the day as they denied the jurisdiction of the court.

Cumberlander was among 10 adults and one 17-year-old charged after a more than 8-hour armed standoff on a stretch I-95 in Wakefield early Saturday morning.

The group of adult men, ages 21 to 40 and from Rhode Island, New York and Michigan, are each charged with eight counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, use of body armor in commission of a crime, possession of a high-capacity magazine, improper storage of firearms in a vehicle and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Three of the men, plus the 17-year-old also arrested in the case, are also charged with furnishing a false name to police. Two men, only known as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2, have yet to be identified.

The court proceedings happened in a stop-and-start fashion, as the men, clad in camouflage, used fake names, waived their rights to lawyers, denied that the court of law had jurisdiction over them and talked over Malden District Court Judge Emily A. Karstetter.

Many of the men requested that their leader, Jamhal Tavon Sanders Latimer, 29, who goes by Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, be their legal counsel, even though he is not a licensed attorney.

Supporters of the group in the room and on Zoom interjected with cries of “Treason!” and “What is the probable cause?” Some insulted the judge, calling her expletives. Several supporters in the room and on Zoom had to be escorted out or kicked off the video conference for repeated disruptions.

In Cumberlander’s case, he declared himself to be a “foreign national” and repeatedly objected to the charges brought against him. The exchange between Cumberlander and Judge Karstetter to determine whether he wanted a court-appointed lawyer or whether he wanted to be his own counsel dragged as he declined to answer her questions about whether he understood the significance of waiving his right to a lawyer.

“We didn’t want to cause fear. I object to being held without bail. I am not a threat to society or anybody,” he said in court.

Another defendant, who has refused to identify himself to authorities, told the judge he was a “Free Moor.”

The judge ruled he had waived right to counsel, then ordered him out of the courtroom to watch proceedings on Zoom because he kept interrupting her.

The group’s leader, Latimer, told the judge that the defendants held onto their weapons because they wanted to protect themselves from the police surrounding them, who also bore firearms.

He told her repeatedly that he is not armed anymore because the police seized his weapons, and that he handled himself “peacefully” throughout the hourslong standoff Saturday.

The court recessed until Wednesday with two men, John Doe #2, and Alban El Curraugh, still due for arraignment. John Doe #1 was ordered held pending fingerprinting and positive identification.

Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of the other seven defendants. Each was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing Friday. The 17-year old will be arraigned at a later date.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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