HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — The People’s Convoy is persistent. The trucks and their supporters have been circling the DC Beltway, slowing traffic for 28 days. But now, those truckers are turning heads for another reason: a new and controversial claim about bathroom issues and citizen’s arrests.
The controversy stems from a tweet made by a reporter from the Daily Beast. The tweet claims one of the organizers of the People’s Convoy told the reporter they were calling for citizen’s arrests of DC’s mayor and police. The thread explains that the truckers weren’t allowed to leave their trucks to go to the bathroom while circling the Beltway, leading to a worst-case scenario. But some truckers were quick to dispute those claims.
Frank Barrientez might not drive a rig, but he has supported the convoy since it left Oklahoma. He first saw the convoy that made its way across Canada and blocked traffic in Ottawa He was confused when he didn’t see anything similar in the United States. He then found the People’s Convoy and met them in Breezewood, Pennsylvania, and was determined to set the record straight.
“There was nothing of that sort. We’re not wanting to go down and make citizen’s arrest. We’re not wanting to go down and do anything to any politician,” Barrientez explained. “We’re not wanting to do any of that stuff. We’re not here for fighting. We’re not here as a rebellion. We’re here fighting for our freedom. Fighting against the emergency powers act.”
Other truckers worry their message is getting misinterpreted. Rick Daniels, a trucker out of Wisconsin, tows a trailer with mottos like “Peace, love, hope, and freedom” and “Stop abusing the ‘Emergency Powers Act.” He says he often gets rude gestures from other drivers.
“When you gather 1000, 1500 people, you’re gonna have 1500 different opinions or different 1500 different reasons for being out,” Daniels said. “They think it’s a Trump rally and unfortunately, that’s just not what our purpose is here.”
Barrientez echoed Daniels’ sentiments and highlighted that he is only here to fight for his freedom. Barrientez explained that he is an Army veteran and says his oath to protect the Constitution did not end when he left service. He also says he was let go from his job because he did not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is one of the COVID mandates the People’s Convoy is fighting to end.
“I’m here to fight for freedom and that’s what this is about: stopping the Emergency Powers Act,” Barrientez explained. “That takes my freedom and I don’t appreciate it because I’m an American citizen.”
Daniels also says the convoy isn’t trying to target DMV drivers with their slow-rolling convoy directly, but they feel it’s the best way to bring attention to the cause. They also want politicians to answer the requests that have been made at the very beginning.
“The Democrats aren’t coming out and talking to us and the Republicans. They’ll say what they think we need to hear, but we’re not seeing any action yet,” Daniels said. “But we are creating a dialogue and the dialogue is about the Emergency Powers Act.”
WDVM tried speaking with the organizer, Ron Coleman, responsible for making the bathroom comment, but he declined to comment. Instead, he told reporter Katie Rhee he was too busy and referred her to his scheduler.