Why Alex Booth's Whiskey Warrior boogaloo stand off was a bunch of BS

Jack Murphy
November 25, 2019 - 10:50 am
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Sirens blared as a police armored vehicle pulled up to a suburban house in Mahopac, N.Y. on Saturday night. Police had surrounded the residence with a outer and inner cordon. Barricaded inside, and streaming live on social media, was former infantryman Alexander Booth, known on Instagram by his handle Whiskey_Warrior_556. While a SWAT team stood by, negotiators communicated with Booth, attempting to get him to surrender peacefully.

Meanwhile, Booth was posting on Instagram Live as Whiskey Warrior whipping up much of the veteran and pro-second amendment community into a frenzy, saying that the police were using red flag laws to confiscate his guns. Booth claimed to social media followers that he was being "red flagged" by police because he is a veteran.

This was not the case.

In response to recent mass shootings, many states have passed red flag laws which allow a judge to order someone’s firearms to be temporarily confiscated if they are suspected to be a danger to themselves or others. New York is one of seventeen states that currently has red flag laws, however, Connecting Vets was able to speak to an officer with the Carmel Police Department who responded to Booth's stand off who said that this case had nothing to do with red flag laws.

Happy Veterans Day to all my brothers and sisters in arms out there. Some of the best and worst times of my life. Wouldn’t change it for anything #army #infantry #veteransday #afghanistan #OEF

A post shared by Alex (@whiskey_warrior_556) on

"The incident was widely reported to be a law enforcement effort to seize firearms under 'red flag' laws. This information is incorrect. The law enforcement response and subsequent arrest was related to a domestic violence investigation," Putnam County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Back in September, police were called to Booth's home for a domestic dispute. His wife claimed Booth was intoxicated and threatened her with a shotgun, prompting her to call the police.  Law enforcement officers placed Booth under arrest, which automatically triggered an order of protection under New York state law. This is separate and different than red flag laws. Under an order of protection, Booth automatically had his firearms confiscated by police.

Saturday, Booth's estranged wife called police when she awoke to find him at her home, standing over her in her bed. Since this was a violation of the protection order, police reponded.  As police approached Booth's home, the Sheriff's Department said an officer thought he heard a gunshot and called in for backup. Upon spotting the police, Booth barricaded himself inside his home. 

During the 6 hour event, Booth took to social media and Instagram Live to post videos and messages about his plight. While he did say at one point that he wanted a peaceful resolution to the matter, he was dressed in his Army uniform and wearing a plate carrier with a knife strapped to it as seen in video footage he streamed on social media.

He also made reference to the boogaloo, which is an old timey type of dance but in this context, the boogaloo is a reference to an armed uprising against the U.S. government. The slang term is often used in libertarian, pro-gun rights, and right wing groups. Booth also referred to police officers on the scene as red coats.

Some social media followers posted the address to Booth's home, saying that the police were trying to "red flag" him and, "if there are any patriots in the area he needs back up ASAP." 

"This is a person in crisis, having mental illness, having issues and he didn't need the people on social media telling him that his rights are being violated. He needed help -- medical help," says Town of Carmel Police Chief Michael Cazzari told News12 Westchester.

According to law enforcement sources, the police were worried that someone would take action on these threats. Eventually, they cut the phone line and internet access at Booth's house. Due to the social media fanfare, the departments call center was overwhelmed. "They flooded our systems," a police officer familiar with the incident told Connecting Vets on the condition of anonymity. 

After six hours, Booth surrendered to police without further incident. Meanwhile, false reports swirled around on social media incorrectly saying that there had been a firefight. Booth is being held on a felony warrant stemming from the previous domestic assault case.

 

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.