Local officers learn how to spot sovereign citizens
Retired police chief recounts fateful encounter with sovereigns
The Cassville Police Department and the municipal court invited a former West Memphis, Ark., police chief to train area law enforcement about sovereign citizens, who have made their presence known in Barry County.
"[Sovereign cItizens] are more dangerous, more of a threat to us than international terrorists," said Bob Paudert, a retired police chief. "They are in our own backyard."
Before May 20, 2010, Paudert said he never heard of the sovereigns.
"By that afternoon, I was well familiar with them because they killed my son, Brandon, a police sergeant [in West Memphis], and his partner Bill Evans, on Interstate 40," Paudert said.
Brandon Paudert and Evans worked for Chief Paudert at the West Memphis Police Department.
After 11:30 a.m., Evans stopped a white Ohio van for an unknown reason during a drug interdiction stop on I-40.
Jerry Kane, who was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 260 pounds, got out of the van, Paudert said. Evans was 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighed about 170 pounds. Joseph Kane, Jerry's 16-year-old son, sat in the van's front passenger seat.
"Jerry Kane was an out-of-work truck driver," he said. "He drove a truck across the country. He didn't have a job, so he goes into this sovereign thing, scamming money out of people, telling them that it's a secret bank account that the government has with your name on it, and the only way that you can get to that secret bank account is withdraw your citizenship from this country.
"And then, you can apply to get your money out of the bank. It's anywhere from $630,000 to $20 million in the secret bank account that you can get."
The Kanes, who wore white suits, also tried to recruit new sovereigns.
Sovereigns believe all laws do not apply to them, Paudert said. That law enforcement has no jurisdiction over them. They do not recognize the legal system. They renounce their citizenship.
Jerry Kane indicated he was a pastor at the traffic stop, and a Bible was in the front seat of the van, Paudert said.
Brandon Paudert then pulls up to see what is going on, he said.
"When he gets out of the car, within two minutes after he is there, both officers are dead," Paudert said.
Jerry Kane pushed Evans and Joseph Kane, who got out of the van, and shot Evans 11 times with an AK-47, he said. The bullets went through his vest. Evans fell in a ditch without getting a chance to unholster his sidearm.
Brandon Paudert took cover behind one of the police vehicles, which was a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, and fired his .40 caliber Glock seven times. Joseph Kane shot Brandon Paudert 14 times, and he died on the interstate.
The Arkansas State Police and the Memphis Police Department blocked the bridges going into Memphis, Paudert said. The Kanes were located at a Walmart, nearly a mile from where Joseph Kane killed the two police offers.
Kane wounded Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief Enforcement Officer W.A. Wren in a shootout in the Walmart parking lot after they spotted the white van.
Michael Neal, a wildlife officer with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, then drove about 50 miles per hour across the Walmart parking lot and rammed his wildlife truck into the side of the white van, Paudert said.
Neal fired 30 rounds from his AR-15 rifle into the van, the chief said. Some of the first shots killed Jerry Kane. Joseph Kane then fired about 50 times with his AK-47 into Neal's truck. Neal then fired 30 more rounds. Neal then took cover after he disengaged the truck from the van. Law enforcement from Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi were also shooting into the van. Joseph Kane died in the Walmart parking lot.
A .45 caliber Taurus Judge pistol was found in the van, Paudert said. Five rounds were shot out of the pistol. The Kanes also had a pound of dope in the vehicle.
Jennifer Privett, the Cassville municipal court administrator, said she initially invited Paudert to a May court clerk conference in Osage Beach.
After Privett returned from the conference, she said she told Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr about Paudert. Kammerlohr wanted him to come to Cassville.
"We had received a letter from a sovereign in Seligman, and we knew that they were in our area because of that, so I contacted him," Privett said. "Normally, his program is a $2,000 program for about a two-hour speech. And then, I talked with him about the size of the department. He volunteered to come to us without charging us that."
A little more than a month ago, she also said a Shell Knob man entered the municipal court.
"In just the first 20 seconds that he walked in, I realized that he was professing to be a sovereign," Privett said. "Even though he didn't come out and say it, his language and the questions that he asked and the things that he did were all stuff that I learned from Bob's training."
After last week's presentation, Kammerlohr said the training will make the police officers more aware of what to look for when they approach a possible sovereign.
Officer safety is the main thing, she said. Her goal is for her officers to return home safe to their family each night.
"And, whatever I can help them with to acquire that goal is worth it," Kammerlohr said.