(Memphis) The City of Memphis is working to combat what Memphis City Attorney Herman Morris is calling “paper terrorism.”
“It’s a mess that has to be cleaned up frequently,” said Morris.
He’s referring to lawsuits popping up in this city and courts nationwide filed by what the south poverty law center calls sovereign citizens.
“Many call themselves sovereigns, some call themselves moors , some call themselves other names, but the common thread they don`t respect the law, the government, the judicial system,” said Morris.
After filing a lien and squatting in a multimillion dollar east Memphis home, Tabitha Gentry told Memphis police she “refuses to recognize the laws of the US, Tennessee, or its political subdivisions.”
She calls herself a member of the sovereign citizen Moorish National movement.
While Gentry and “sovereigns” like her don’t like our laws, they love filling lawsuits and liens.
“I would imagine at any given time we have 10 or so of these cases active in our office,” said Morris.
Often elected officials like Mayor AC Wharton and city employees become targets.
“Not only bogus lawsuits, but bogus liens and claims against the property of others,” explained Morris about the paperwork that some city attorneys are working to clean up.
For instance, Memphian Mario Jenkins who changed his name to Al Moreno El-Bey.
Police say during a traffic stop He yelled “what’s your expletive delegation of authority “and told them he’s a sovereign citizen.
He has his own identification and sent city officials this document saying he’s “not aligned with the state of or it’s fictitious entities”
Yet he’s filed lawsuits against the Tennessee Department of Labor, his former employer, Memphis Police and Shelby County Juvenile Court.
There’s also Anthony Decarlo Hayes.
He’s a former Memphis Police officer and city of Memphis code inspector.
In a suit Hayes is suing the city, the mayor, and several other city workers, after losing his job.
“Any individual that comes in their sights or that offends their system,” said Morris.
“Most of these employees are in this situation because they are city employees doing their job serving and protecting and helping the city of Memphis.”
That is the reason the city has created a Sovereign Citizen Reaction and Response team.
It’s a team of attorneys that work to clean up the legal mess filed against employees.
Sometimes innocent people can get caught up, when liens and suits are filed without identifying the defendant with an address or birth date.
“It’s a kind of paper vandalism that borders on terrorism, certainly terrorism of someone`s assets,” said Morris.
The state is also combating the problem creating more laws, so everyone is protected from bogus property liens.
And more legislation will be proposed in the upcoming session.
Hoping to deter, eventually stop the legal, financial, and time consuming legal mess caused by sovereigns.