Updated at 6:05 PM ET
MEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Ten men were brought in for a chaotic arraignment in Malden District Court on a slew of gun charges on Tuesday. The charges stemmed from an eight-hour armed standoff with police on I-95 North in Wakefield over the weekend, when the men and a teenager were first discovered stopped on the side of the highway.
All ten men and a 17-year-old were charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Conspiracy to Commit a Crime, and four other charges.
After a lengthy back-and-forth over whether or not he wanted a lawyer, the first defendant, Quinn Cumberlander of Pawtucket, objected to the charges.
Cumberlander told the judge he was a "foreign national."
He was eventually returned to lockup after the Middlesex District Attorney's office laid out the case against him, and will appear for a dangerousness hearing on Friday. The self-proclaimed co-founder of "Rise of the Moors," Jahmal Bey, also known as Jahmal Latimer, continued to insist he is not under the court's jurisdiction. He was eventually escorted from the court.
Another defendant refused to identify himself before the judge, while several couldn't be arraigned because they repeatedly interrupted the judge.
It was part of a chaotic day in court, where members of both the gallery in the court and the Zoom audience interrupted court proceedings numerous times, shouting things like "high treason!" Only a few dozen people were allowed inside the courtroom because of COVID-19 protocols.
A plea of not guilty was entered on behalf of most of the defendants, besides those who were removed for being too combative.
"Rise of the Moors"
The ten men and the teenager charged as a result of the standoff were all self-identified members of a Pawtucket-based group called "Rise of the Moors," who claim that they are "Moorish Americans," the original sovereigns of the United States, and do not consider themselves bound by the country's laws.
The group said it draws this belief from a treaty between Morocco and the United States, signed in 1786, and other correspondence between Morocco and the United States in its early days.
Rise of the Moors said its members do not pay taxes as a matter of doctrine. According to the SPLC, the greater Moorish Sovereign Citizen movement is a loosely-related constellation of groups that have similar beliefs to the Rise of the Moors, many (like Rise of the Moors) with ties to the Moorish Science Temple of America, a religious movement started in 1913 by Noble Drew Ali in Illinois.
WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports: