Below is a brief report prepared by a person with first-hand knowledge of events that transpired on May 31st at Fifth and Federal, a restaurant in Lynchburg, Virginia. It shows very clearly the effectiveness and need for a citizens’ militia and that the unorganized militia is compatible with and an asset to local law enforcement agencies. Many specific operational details have not been included for OPSEC reasons.
On May 31st at about 1500, I received a text alert from another militia member regarding planned protests in front of Fifth and Federal, a restaurant in Lynchburg, Virginia. Jerry Falwell with Liberty University had tweeted a humorous tweet about Governor Northam. The owner of Fifth and Federal responded with a humorous tweet and it was decided by the local BLM group that the tweet was racist. Fifth and Federal was targeted for protests and threats were made to burn it down.
Militia leadership and some members of militias from several counties in the area surrounding Lynchburg began communicating about the situation using text messages and phone calls. It was determined that we would prepare to go if the situation warranted intervention. A militia member scouted the location and determined that a vibrant protest was underway. He was able to make contact with the owner of Fifth and Federal. The restaurant had finally been able to reopen after Governor Northam’s recent tyrannical closure and he had a few customers. The business was being disrupted by shouting and harassment. The owner expressed concern regarding the business and what would happen after he closed for the evening.
More communication occurred between key militia members and leaders and it was determined a team would be placed to protect the restaurant property during the night. Leaders of local militias in three counties began to dial up the readiness level of their militias for the purpose of support if the initial team needed assistance..
Team members arrived at the restaurant at 2030 and became acclimated to the building and property. A CO from one of the local militias briefed each team member on the general plans. Comms was coordinated. The owner expressed his appreciation and told members we were welcome to whatever food or drink we needed. To my knowledge, no one on the team ate anything and we only drank water.
Militia members were able to escort the few remaining customers to their vehicles for safety reasons and make sure they were able to leave the property without incident. After the owner finished cleaning up, we were able to transport him to his vehicle so he could leave without being in danger.
Initially, we simply observed the protesters. We determined who the provocateurs were. We got a sense of the mood and assessed our situation tactically. We were actively blocking the protesters from gaining access to the business.
After about two hours of operations, an M-80 firework was deployed by a provocateur. Protesters began to stampede away from the business. Another M-80 was deployed. At this point rock and brick throwing began in earnest. The entire south side of the building was glass, consisting of roll-up garage doors. The protesters began destroying the glass with bricks and rocks thrown from the street. All team members were inside the building at this time
We watched as the Lynchburg Police Department worked to defuse the situation. The officers that we had encountered earlier and worked with side-by-side were very professional; however, the Department had obviously never seen a situation like this and they became overwhelmed quickly. They did the best they could; however, it was obvious we would be fending for ourselves. They had their hands full.
Throughout the 6 hour action, we endured harassment, taunting, confrontation. There was extreme anger from the protesters but no reasoning ability. They chanted slogans and asked rhetorical questions but had no desire to hear real answers. They were obviously angry but didn’t want solutions. At no time were weapons discharged, even when we were being pelted with bricks, rocks, and glass. On three separate occasions, we forced protesters off the property as they made aggressive advances.
A contingent force of about 30 militia members which had gathered elsewhere marched within sight of the restaurant after about 2 hours of siege. Lynchburg Police Department had finally gotten a plan in place and had moved the protesters away from the restaurant. It would be several more hours before the protesters were disbanded for the night. The restaurant was secure with several thousand dollars worth of property damage; however, the building was still standing.
Lynchburg Police Department credited the local militias with keeping the building from burning to the ground. We were able to enhance our credibility, gain incredible training experience, and prove our worth to a city which is anti-2A and anti-militia. All-in-all, it was an exceptional opportunity.