A clique of officers who calls themselves “Three-Percenters” in the Jersey City Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit sprouted about two years ago, officials have told The Jersey Journal.
“They were separating themselves from the others in the unit and we put a stop to it immediately,” Jersey City Police Deputy Chief Peter Nalbach said.
The deputy chief said there were officers who were disciplined over the matter.
Three-percenters are an “anti-government extremist” movement that has grown since President Barack Obama took office, according to the Anti Defamation League, a nonprofit that combats what it believes to be anti-Semitism and bigotry.
The three-percent movement promotes the idea that the federal government is plotting to take away the rights of American citizens and must be resisted, the ADL says on its website.
The three-percenters apparently get their name from the notion that 3 percent of American colonists took up arms against the British crown during the Revolutionary War, according to the Three Percenter’s Club on Facebook, which has more than 17,500 followers.
“The (three-percenter) honors and is sworn to uphold and enforce the Constitution of the United States of America… (Three-percenters) are soldiers who have sworn to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic,” the groups says on its “About” page.
Followers sometimes call themselves “Oath Keepers” and associate with self-described pro-militia “patriot” groups that support gun rights and “engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing,” including the idea that the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the federal government, according to the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
It was not clear if the disciplined officers belonged to any particular three-percent group.
An anonymous letter sent to The Jersey Journal says that some ESU officers wore a patch saying “ONE OF THE 3 %” and the letter includes a picture of a patch. The letter also says some official ESU patches were altered by adding “3%” to them. The letter also includes a picture of such a patch.
Finally, the letter includes a patch with the image of a skull and says ESU officers wore the skull patch and Three-Percenters patches while on patrol.
Nalbach confirmed that officers were wearing a patch and said “It was removed because we don’t allow unofficial patches.”
The letter also includes an image of a Three-Percenters flag and said it was hung in the ESU gym. Nalbach said he was not aware of a flag.