FAIRBANKS — Second Amendment Task Force leader Schaeffer Cox blamed his recent legal troubles on a bothersome mother-in-law and “character assassination” planned by local law enforcement during a small task force meeting Friday night.

The meeting of about 40 core members of the task force took place at the Fairbanks headquarters of the Interior Alaska Conservative Coalition.

It was the first meeting held in the nearly six weeks since Cox, 26, was arrested and charged with assaulting his wife.

Cox initially was charged with second-degree felony assault after his wife reportedly told Alaska State Troopers that he punched and choked her during a trip to Anchorage to visit her mother. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment four days after the original charge was filed.

However, Cox told supporters that troopers “fabricated” nearly all of the information in charging documents. He said he and his wife were arguing about visiting his mother-in-law, with whom he has never gotten along because of his conservative beliefs. Cox admitted that he pushed his wife, but he said he never punched or choked her.

“I’m not justifying my behavior,” he said. “I was being a button-pushing jerk, but I don’t go beyond that.”

When Cox’s mother-in-law heard of the dispute, she went to troopers, and charges were filed several days later.

“She feels that anything she can do to rescue her daughter from the Sam Adams of the 21st century is justifiable,” he said.

During the two-hour meeting, Cox called the state troopers “wicked, corrupt and despicable” and claimed that law enforcement is trying make him look bad to scare people away from the task force.

Since the case has been resolved, he said he has been harassed by the Office of Children’s Services who are trying to take his son away from him.

Cox also touched on his second arrest last month for not letting a Fairbanks police officer know he was carrying a concealed handgun.

Cox was contacted by Fairbanks police officers last month while he was monitoring the scene of a police search at an Eighth Avenue house. The carpenter and business owner is part of a “Liberty Bell” network that sends out mass notifications when someone believes their rights are being violated.

The owner of the home had contacted Cox to complain that police were making an unauthorized search of her property. Police said they were responding to a 911 hang-up call.

Marijuana reportedly was found growing in the home, but police were denied a search warrant that would have allowed them to make a drug arrest.

When Cox asked the arresting officer why he was being arrested, the officer told him, “I don’t know, I’ve got to go look up some laws,” Cox said.

The homeowner told the task force Friday that there is one phone line in her house that can’t make outgoing calls and is connected to a computer. She also noted that despite the fact that a 911 hang-up can be a serious situation, police took about an hour to get to her house. She said that Cox and the Liberty Bell system likely kept the police from overstepping their boundaries.

Reception to Cox’s explanation of events was mixed with several people telling Cox he should have fought the charges and taken the case to a jury if he was innocent. Cox said he would rather that many go toward helping the task force than acquitting him and he felt the case was resolved fairly.

“Honestly, I probably did recklessly endanger my wife,” he said. “But they dropped all those heinous accusations that were so horrible.”

Former Borough Assemblyman Mike Prax walked out of the meeting after accusing Cox of trying to take the law into his own hands and refusing to work in the proper avenues of the court system.

One man called for Cox to step down as leader of the task force, while IACC organizer Maria Rensel said that Cox should only hold a position of leadership in the task force or the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, since he makes the militia look like a political organization.

While Cox was a founding member of the IACC and a member of the task force serves on the IACC board, the IACC has no affiliation with the militia, Rensel said.

Cox holds no official title in the task force and has described the group’s gathering as town hall meetings. He said he would not be opposed to taking less of a leadership role in the task force but other leaders need to step forward.

Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at

459-7545.