Jerry Ralph Kane Jr., the man who was killed with his son Thursday after apparently gunning down two West Memphis, Ark., police officers, traveled the country before the encounter giving classes in "redemption foreclosure mortgage fraud" -- an apparent variation on a scheme common among antigovernment "Patriots."
According to a blurb on a website called Pro Blog: Blog for Professionals, that was the title that Kane gave to an all-day class he gave on Aug. 29, 2009, in Fontana, Calif. In several YouTube videos of the Fontana class, Kane can be heard discussing such Patriot theories as the idea that only gold and silver are real money.
In addition, another website, My Private Audio, carried a tribute to Kane and his son and also included links to information about "redemption."
Redemption theory varies across the country but arose in the Patriot movement, which generally sees the federal government as an evil entity involved in various conspiracy theories aimed at ordinary Americans. In its best known version, redemption theory claims that every U.S. citizen has a "straw man," or secret legal twin, that the government uses to capture the economic value of citizens unknowingly sold into slavery to a banking cabal. Redemptionists often claim that by filing certain documents individuals can reclaim their sovereignty and the money that was deposited into a special account at their birth. Kane appeared to be teaching a variant of the theory that supposedly allowed people who have lost their homes to foreclosure to get them back at a fraction of their value.
In addition, the My Private Audio site, apparently written by a friend of Kane and his son, talks about how Kane was pulled over in New Mexico last month for not having a driver's license. Many Patriots who call themselves "sovereign citizens" do not believe they are required to carry driver's licenses, pay taxes, or obey most laws. The site also carried other signs of Patriot beliefs, including discussions of implantable microchips and the Council of Foreign Relations, an object of much Patriot conspiracy theorizing.
According to reports, the minivan driven by Kane during Thursday's shootout -- which also left two other police officers injured -- was registered to an address in New Vienna, Ohio, called House of God's Prayer. The building once housed the Ohio headquarters of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, which was sometimes known as the Church of Jesus Christ Christian. The Ohio unit was headed by a violent white supremacist named Ray Redfeairn, who died in 2003. The church is reportedly owned by a man named Hoge Tabor of Middletown, Ohio.
The New Vienna Aryan Nations operation was infiltrated in the late 1990s by an FBI informant named Dave Hall, who wrote a 2008 book -- Into the Devil's Den -- with his FBI handler, Tym Burkey. In the book, Hall writes that Tabor had been a Klansman for close to five decades. In an interview today with Hatewatch, Hall reiterated that Tabor was a long-time Klansman who actually had a calming influence on Redfeairn, who once shot and nearly killed a police officer. "I saw Hoge talking a few times with Redfeairn, saying he ought to tone down his sermons a little bit and discuss the positive side of being white," Hall said. He also recalled that the House of God's Prayer building was once a Klan meeting hall, long before Tabor acquired it and Redfeairn began using it as an Aryan Nations office.
It's not yet known what connection Kane and his son, Joseph Taylor Kane, may have had to Tabor or Aryan Nations. What is clear, however, is that the elder Kane was involved in a world of Patriot conspiracy theories and had spent much time traveling the country and teaching them to others.
Conflicts between so-called sovereign citizens and law enforcement are common, probably because such people do not believe they need driver's licenses or vehicle registrations and so are often pulled over. In June 1995, for instance, a Frazeyburg, Ohio, police officer shot and killed Michael Hill, a sovereign citizen activist. Hill tried to shoot the officer after being pulled over.