(FOX 9) - A data leak is revealing information about thousands of people – including police, military and elected officials – believed to be part of an anti-government extremist group called the Oath Keepers.
The far-right organization, which is associated with the militia movement, is accused of playing a key role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. More than two dozen people associated with the group were charged in connection with the attack.
The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism pored over more than 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists and revealed information about how many people in each state paid dues to the organization over the years.
The league said in Minnesota, there were 514 members of the Oath Keepers, including an elected official, six law enforcement officers, three members of the military and two first responders.
"I think like many in law enforcement, I was angry," said Kelly McCarthy, chief of police for Mendota Heights. "It's one thing to kind of think something might exist, and then when you're presented with this type of evidence, it can be really jarring."
For McCarthy, the news raises fresh concerns about the presence of extremists in her line of work.
"My hope is that law enforcement leaders all over the state are very vocal in saying, ‘this is not who we are, and this is not what we want to be’ and ‘here's what we're going to do to ensure that this is not who we are moving forward,’" McCarthy said.
McCarthy, who also chairs the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, said the Insurrection reminded police that their oath is to the law, and not their own personal views.
Given her position, she is advocating for a statewide rule to be made stating that licensed officers can't be a part of any extremist groups.
The league identified more than 370 people across the country it believes currently work in law enforcement agencies, including as police chiefs and sheriffs, and more than 100 people who are currently members of the military.
The Oath Keepers explicitly target current and former members of the military, law enforcement, and emergency services personnel with their recruitment and messaging, according to the ADL.
Because Minnesota became the epicenter of police reform after the murder of George Floyd, McCarthy also believes there's now an increased responsibility to instill trust with the public here.
"When you travel outside of the state or outside of this country, and you say, ‘Minnesota law enforcement,’ they think of police misconduct," she explained.
One thing that McCarthy believes has helped police credibility is body camera video because officers' actions and words are captured for everyone to see.
She feels a personal obligation to make sure there are no white supremacists in her department and believes other chiefs should follow suit.
"Every law enforcement leader has an obligation to ensure that their officers are not engaging in activity that would weaken the public trust – whether they're on duty or off," McCarthy said.
"As a law enforcement official in Minnesota, what would you say to the people who are on that list?" FOX 9’s Rose Schmidt asked McCarthy.
"I think they need to reevaluate their career," she replied.