FERGUSON, Mo. -- They've been called an anti-government militia, right wing radicals, even the KKK, and they are armed and stationed on Ferguson rooftops. But the group called the "Oath Keepers" say they're here to protect.
While violent protests and rioting played out on the street last Tuesday, Sam Andrews stood watch from a rooftop.
"We started talking to the owners (of the business) and said 'You know there's a better way. We can help you. You don't have to rely on the government,'" he said.
For the past week, the Oath Keepers have remained on the roofs of several Ferguson businesses. They won't say how many volunteers are on duty, but they will say they've come from all over the country, many have military or police experience, and they're armed.
"I feel safe," said Elena Vo, who works at a business with Oath Keepers standing on top. "Our building is protected with them standing on the roof."
But in a statement, St. Louis County police say they are violating an ordinance that prohibits anyone from providing security without a license, regulations for security companies and their employees meant to maintain consistency and high standards
"To say that they we're going to make sure that we me their standards is an outright lie," said Andrews. "My guys are more qualified than their guys on average."
The Oath Keepers say because they are volunteers on private property, the police have no authority to order them off the roofs. They plan to fight the police order, and in the meantime, they're still on roofs.