Jamhal Latimer, left, one of 11 people charged in connection with an armed standoff along a Massachusetts highway last weekend, appears during his arraignment at Malden District Court, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Medford, Mass. Credit: Suzanne Kreiter / The Boston Globe via AP

The 11 members of the Rhode Island-based militia group that held a nine-hour Saturday standoff with Massachusetts police on a highway said they were traveling to the Bangor area when they were stopped.

Video evidence revealed during a detention hearing in Malden District Court on Friday showed that Jamhal Latimer of “Rise of the Moors” told a Massachusetts state trooper that “we have some land in Maine near Bangor” where they were “going to train.”

The group’s connection to Maine has been unclear and Friday’s hearing was the first time a specific region was mentioned in association with the case. They were driving two vehicles with unregistered Maine license plates, but a search of property and motor vehicles records here turned up no land or vehicle registrations in any of the defendants’ names.

The Maine State Police and its intelligence center have not confirmed any connection that Rise of the Moors members may have to Maine and there is no public safety threat in the state, said Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the public safety department.

At the conclusion of Friday’s detention hearing, Judge Emily Karstetter ordered the six defendants who appeared that day to be held without bail after Latimer and other Moors members argued unsuccessfully to dismiss the case, stating their “constitutional rights had been violated.” A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 9.

Latimer, the leader of the group who is also known as Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, refused to provide a firearm license or driver’s license. Neither he nor any of the people he was traveling with had licenses for firearms in Massachusetts or any other state. His wife has said in a video posted to social media that he had been traveling to “family property.”

One defendant was revealed to be Steven Perez, after being fingerprinted earlier that week at Middlesex House of Correction and Jail in Billerica, Massachusetts. Several others agreed to only be identified using chosen names rather than the legal names they were charged under. 

Rise of the Moors is a militia group that shares some beliefs with both the sovereign citizen movement and Moorish Science, a religion that advocates for both Black nationalism and some tenets of the Nation of Islam. The leaders of the Moorish Science Temple of America denounced Rise of the Moors in a Boston Globe interview this week, however.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.