- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Two acquitted Mich. militia members charge FBI violated their rights
Two members of a Michigan militia group acquitted last year of conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government and kill police officers have accused FBI and Michigan State Police officials in a lawsuit of violating their constitutional rights when they raided their homes and seized their weapons.
Michael D. Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich., and Thomas W. Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., members of the Hutaree militia, brought the suit March 27 in U.S. District Court in Detroit, naming as co-plaintiffs Mr. Meeks‘ parents, Eugene and Sylvia, and his sister, Gabrielle Neely.
The suit seeks at least $25,000 in damages for each of its 16 counts, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The Hutaree militia movement group adheres to the ideology of the Christian Patriot movement, and is based near Adrian, Mich. The group was formed in early 2006. Members think the U.S. government is led by the Antichrist, whom they believe to be President Obama.
Three FBI agents and a Michigan State Police officer are named in the lawsuit as defendants for their role in raiding the homes of the Hutaree members and their family members. The suit alleges a “reckless disregard for the rights” of the plaintiffs, claiming that the agents violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches, when they raided the homes.
The lawsuit also claims the agents violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms when they confiscated a large quantity of guns and ammunition from Hutaree members. Agents seized 41 guns — including an AK47 semi-automatic assault rifle, rifles, handguns and shotguns — and 100,000 rounds of ammunition from Mr. Piatek’s home. The lawsuit also says due-process rights were violated.
It also says the defendants “were damaged as a result of the unlawful search of their home … the door to the home was damaged, lawful personal property was seized … they suffered emotional distress, anxiety, and mental anguish.”
In March 2012, a federal judge threw out the case, saying there wasn’t enough evidence.
In a 28-page decision, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said, “The evidence is not sufficient … to find that defendants came to a concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the authority of the government of the United States as charged in the indictment.
“The court is aware that protected speech and mere words can be sufficient to show a conspiracy. In this case, however, they do not rise to that level,” the judge said, adding that “diatribes” against the government by militia members that were recorded by the FBI “is not the same as seditious conspiracy.”
Mr. Meeks was elected constable of Bridgewater Township, Mich., in November. He ran unopposed as a Republican and received 631 votes.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
- With bombs away, drug traffickers and illegal immigrants make their play
- Medical-device company exec admits to bilking shareholders of $400M
- Justice Dept: Florida's disabled children unnecessarily put in nursing facilities
- Man gets 11 years in Philadelphia mob crackdown
- Eric Holder asks for respect from protesters of George Zimmerman verdict
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return; RG3 might be benched
- HARRIS: Redskins left in limbo over $7 million question
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow