An Alexandria pastor called for a citizen’s militia to form to support local law enforcement and said he expects President Donald Trump to order martial law, in a video that has drawn tens of thousands of views on Facebook.
Pastor Darryl Knappen of Cornerstone Church normally gets hundreds of views on videos he posts. However the video he posted on Saturday, Jan. 9, titled “Is Martial law coming soon? Listen up,” more than 56,000 views, according to Facebook.
Knappen said he was motivated to post the video because he cares deeply about the country and he believes the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. His video appeared to get exposure internationally, as commenters on his video said they were from the Netherlands and Australia.
“Looks like it struck a chord across the nation and in other countries as well,” he told the Echo Press on Monday.
Previously, Knappen and two other churches had sued Gov. Tim Walz for pandemic-related restrictions he placed on Minnesota churches. He said he is also part of an effort to recall Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
In the video, Knappen says he would have been a member of the Black Robe Regiment, a group of clergy encouraging their parishioners to fight tyranny during the American Revolutionary War.
“I was tempted to wear my black robe today to open it up and show my AR-15 underneath it,” he said. “But I thought that would be way too graphic for any of you or Facebook to allow. … I would have been a part of that movement back then and I may be a part of that movement today.”
He says that the country’s enemies are “vast and wide” and include the deep state, globalists, Marxists and communists. He voiced support for a recent theory about election fraud, that Italian military computers changed votes on American voting machines.
“If President Trump does not enact martial law and the insurrection act, perhaps both, in the next few days, he will be violating his oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “I could not be more serious. I am deadly serious. If he does not do that, and I have every expectation that he will do that, if he does not do that, he will be violating his oath of office, which he promised he would never do.”
On Monday, Knappen told the Echo Press that he would be disappointed if Trump does not announce martial law, but that he would recover.
“I will ask the Lord to give me grace, which he’s done before and he gave me grace under President Barack Obama to be a good citizen and God will give me grace to do it again.”
Knappen told the Echo Press that everything he espouses now hinges on his belief that the election was stolen. He bases that belief primarily on the reporting of the Epoch Times, he said. The Epoch Times, a media organization in 36 countries, says it was founded in the United States in 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China; media watchers say it is affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement, which was persecuted in China.
He said he admires how Epoch Times journalists quote IT and data professionals to conclude that election irregularities are statistically impossible. However, he also acknowledges that he is not a data expert and that asserting fraud is a matter of trust. Finding trustworthy sources of information is a challenge, he said.
“Where do you find information that you can trust?” he said. “I’m finding that truth is in short supply these days around the country.”
Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolberson said local militias are not needed and could create a dangerous situation.
He said local law enforcement already has a way to summon additional help if needed, through mutual aid agreements with other law enforcement agencies in Minnesota.
“We’ve always had numerous deputies and officers respond as needed,” he said. “I can’t predict the future of course, but I would say that under normal circumstances, even extreme normal circumstances, we don’t need additional help other than what I just stated.”
He said it could be dangerous if people self deploy without the awareness of law enforcement. But he didn’t rule out the possibility of relying on such help in dire situations.
“It would take really extreme conditions for us to even start to consider it,” he said. “If we had that circumstance occur, it would have to be done with someone from an outside group contacting us and making us aware and never doing anything without permission or recognition that they even exist and I don’t foresee this occurring.”