Saturday, October 16, 2010

The right-wing threats keep mounting: In Florida, 'sovereign citizens' threaten law enforcement, neighbors

-- by Dave

There's certainly plenty of reason for police officers to worry about far-right-wing nutcases gunning them down in a confrontation. Just ask the families of the two officers who tried to ticket Jerry and Joe Kane.

So down in Tampa, the cops took no chances when a "sovereign citizen" began announcing threats to law enforcement officers:

Over the summer, authorities arrested Josiah Fornof of Hudson. According to the criminal complaint, Fornof, 30, threatened to "bear arms against" two deputies with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office who were trying to serve a warrant.

... According to the affidavit, he told law enforcement they had no right to be at the home where he lives with his mother and he yelled, "Sir, if you come back, we may bear arms against you."

Fornof is being held at the Pinellas County Jail at the request of federal marshals. He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The FBI is not commenting since the criminal case against him is still open, but threats and actions spelled out in his arrest affidavit certainly fit the criteria the FBI uses to define a sovereign citizen extremist.

"We are seeing a growth in the movement” Special Agent Michael McPherson told investigative reporter Doug Smith. "We are concerned with the sovereign citizen extremist."

McPherson is a supervisor for the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Task Force who is based in Tampa and responsible for 18 counties in Florida. He told Smith the agency uses a three-prong test to define a sovereign citizen extremist.

"The threat of force or violence, a violation of a federal law and a political, social agenda -- that's when we'd get involved."

We went to Hudson to visit the property where Fornof was arrested. Careful not to trespass, we were met out front by Nathan Fornof, who defended his brother's actions.

"We were expecting them to come in here and murder us Nathan told FOX 13. "We've been having them come up and threaten us on our grandfather's property. Next thing we know we get a visit from the FBI dragging him off saying you don't have the right to defend yourselves."

Agent McPherson is concerned about threats against law enforcement.

"The anti-government rhetoric can quickly turn to action," he said.

Gee, we wonder where they're getting [koffFoxkoff] that from. Guess we could always ask Byron Williams.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

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