Police say at least two of the seven suspects arrested for the fatal shooting of two Louisiana sheriffs deputies last Thursday are connected to the anti-government “sovereign citizen” movement.
According to WBRZ-TV, 28-year-old Kyle Joekel and 44-year-old Terry Smith had identified themselves as part of the movement, which was classified as a domestic terror group last year by the FBI.
Joekel and Smith, along with several members of Smith’s family and other associates, were arrested following an ambush on authorities in LaPlace, Louisiana, about 25 miles west of New Orleans. Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche were killed in the ensuing shootout. Two more deputies were wounded.
Smith’s son, Brian Lyn Smith, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder. Arrested as principals to attempted first-degree murder were Derrick Smith, 22, and 21-year-old Teniecha Bright. Terry Smith’s wife, 37-year-old Chanel Skains, and 23-year-old Britney Keith, Bryan Smith’s girlfriend, were arrested and charged as accessories to the crime.
According to The New Orleans Time-Picayune the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which regularly monitors hate group activity, estimates that the sovereign movement is on the rise, with an estimated 300,000 members. A training video produced by the SPLC for law enforcement agencies has received about 80,000 orders.
“Sovereigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes,” the SPLC explains in a report on the group. “Sovereigns are clogging up the courts with indecipherable filings and when cornered, many of them lash out in rage, frustration and, in the most extreme cases, acts of deadly violence, usually directed against government officials.”
Watch WBRZ’s Aug. 17 report on the group allegedly behind the shootings below:
Here’s why Rudy Giuliani can not legitimately claim to be Donald Trump’s lawyer
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani bills himself as President Donald Trump's attorney. But one former prosecutor explained why that is not an accurate description during a Monday appearance on MSNBC.
"Meet the Press Daily" anchor Katy Tur interviewed former Southern District of New York Assistant U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah, who is a distinguished fellow in criminal justice at Pace Law School.
"So this news that the SDNY is looking into what Rudy Giuliani was doing overseas in Ukraine, explain what they’re doing. Also, very weird since Giuliani used to run the office," Tur noted.
Intel Democrat says Trump’s Russia adviser’s testimony was ‘incredibly helpful’ for impeachment
On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told anchor Wolf Blitzer that President Donald Trump's former Russia adviser Fiona Hill's testimony was "incredibly helpful" for the impeachment investigation.
"You were in the room for Fiona Hill's closed-door deposition today," said Blitzer. "How helpful do you believe her testimony to your investigation will be?"
"Incredibly helpful, Wolf," said Swalwell, who serves on the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. "Also helpful that she showed up, and, like some others, has chosen to defy orders from the president and the State Department to not show up. And when witnesses actually just show up, it advances our investigation."
Trump could be an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in investigation into Rudy Giuliani: MSNBC panel
President Donald Trump could be an "unindicted co-conspirator in the federal investigation that has already resulted in indictments of two associates of Rudy Giuliani, the panel on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" on Monday.
"The question today, will Trump’s conduct in the Middle East -- which has already led to one of the fastest and most dramatic political realignments in history, one that strengthens Syria’s Assad, Iran, and Russia, all American adversaries -- contribute to a political realignment here at home, wherein Republicans participate in the congressional investigation into Donald Trump's demand that a foreign leader dig up dirt on a political rival," anchor Nicolle Wallace said.