“IT’S BEEN PRETTY RUGGED”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 4, 2011) — Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, who was arrested and incarcerated on September 23, 2011 following a sentencing hearing in the Monroe County, TN courthouse, was released on the morning of December 3.
He reported that he spent eight of the ten weeks in Cell 9, which is intended for solitary confinement, but that he had his Bible and several other books which had been sent to him to pass the time.
“I was in Cell 3 for one week and then moved up to Cell #9, and then I spent a week in transport when I was supposed to testify at Darren Huff‘s trial. I was in Cell 9 for the better part of eight weeks,” he said. “I’ve been sleeping on concrete for ten weeks. There were people removed from that cell because they couldn’t handle it. It was not fun.”
On November 17, Fitzpatrick was offered a “deal” by Capt. Pat Wilson of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Wilson was one of four sheriff’s deputies who assaulted Fitzpatrick on October 27, 2010 for allegedly failing to appear at a hearing concerning his attorney of record. After that arrest, Fitzpatrick spent just over two months in the Monroe County jail. “He’s the guy who tried to rip off my ear,” Fitzpatrick said.
Wilson was also present when Fitzpatrick had gone in to the Monroe County courthouse to make a public records request several months ago.
On December 1, 2010, Fitzpatrick defended himself in a trial against charges stemming from a citizen’s arrest of the Monroe County grand jury foreman, who acted in that capacity but Fitzpatrick exposed as never having been legitimate.
Fitzpatrick stated that Wilson “gave up a whole lot of information” when offering him more comfortable accommodations in exchange for his agreement “not to speak with The Post & Email.” He stated that Wilson said in response to Fitzpatrick’s exposure of corruption in Monroe County, “Nobody cares. Back away from it. We’ll move you over to the annex and make you nice and comfortable if you don’t use the phone and call The Post & Email.” Fitzpatrick stated that his response was, “If you give me access to a phone, I will use it.” “They tried everything they could pull to try to get me to cave in on this issue. Wilson told Fitzpatrick that Assistant DA Jim Stutts was trying to lift Fitzpatrick’s suspended sentence which might have resulted in more jail time, to which Fitzpatrick responded, “Knock yourself out.”
He estimated that he has lost about 25 pounds while in jail. During that time, a habeas corpus writ was prepared and submitted to the Monroe County court and later, to the Tennessee Supreme Court, but was ignored by both. Neil Turner, a U.S. Army veteran and frequent contributor to The Post & Email, had called for other veterans to help “set our warrior free.” He had reported a significant weight loss after his jail term last year.
Fitzpatrick has been informed that the FBI has officially labeled him a “sovereign,” as did Barton Gellman of TIME magazine (page 2) on September 30, 2010. Gellman included in the same category those county sheriffs who have threatened to “arrest federal agents” who might enter their county and attempt to effect law enforcement over the sheriff’s authority. Such sheriffs have reportedly invoked the upholding of the U.S. Constitution when challenging federal authorities. “They’re teaching policemen and sheriffs’ deputies in Eastern Tennessee, naming me as a ‘sovereign,’ meaning that I’m a guy who’s trying to take over the United States by force. They tell me that they don’t think I’m a sovereign, but they’re using me as an example of what a sovereign is. My life is at risk. The FBI may as well have a contract out on me,” Fitzpatrick told us.
Were we not all intended to be “sovereigns” by the Founders?
Wikipedia defines a “sovereign citizen movement” as “a loose network of American litigants, commentators and financial scheme promoters” which has been identified by the FBI as an “extremist anti-government group.”
“I’m targeted now by federal, state and local officials, and they’re doing this to try to take the pressure off of themselves for not doing their job,” Fitzpatrick said. Of the Monroe County jail, Fitzpatrick said, “That place is not fit for human habitation. At one time, they had close to 270 people in the facility, but the capacity is something like 138.”
Fitzpatrick reported that while he was in jail, his home was burglarized. Clothing, food and other personal items were taken, although other items were left intact.
On November 17, there was a riot in the jail after a guard, Sgt. Amy Goodman asked an inmate to wear “stripes” in order to pick up his meal. “Guys had been coming to the door to pick up their meals in a T-shirt or other casual clothing, without their ‘uniform.’ Out of the blue that night, after allowing them to come to the door without stripes on, Goodman said, ‘Nobody is going to get fed unless you put on stripes.'”
Fitzpatrick explained the reason for the riot this way:
With the stressors in this environment, when you have so many people living on top of each other, you don’t do that. You don’t make that kind of an abrupt move. It’s really, really bad when you do that. It was the spark that they needed. It can happen any day. You have people sleeping on top of people. It’s as bad as you can imagine.
A local account of the incident concludes, “The officers were preparing to use gas to quiet the crowd of prisoners, but before the gas arrived, the door to one of the cells came down and the prisoners attempted to get into the hallway.”
Regarding the corruption in Monroe County, Fitzpatrick said, “The court system in the Tenth Judicial District had no jurisdiction to hold the court. They haven’t held courts of competent jurisdiction for decades. All those cases go away, all of them. The comment ‘Nobody cares’ is wrong. At some point, we’re going to reach critical mass, and it will take off and blow up.”