Tag Archives: takeover

Georgia Man Convicted in Courthouse Takeover Case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A jury convicted a Georgia man Tuesday of a federal firearms charge in what authorities said was a plot to take over a Tennessee courthouse and force President Barack Obama out of office.
Darren Wesley Huff, 41, was found guilty of carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. He was acquitted of using a firearm in relation to another felony. He faces up to five years in prison.
“The verdict on count one reflects exactly what the law is supposed to do, which is prevent harm before shots get fired, people hurt, or property damaged,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Mackie told reporters after the verdict.
Scott Green, Huff’s attorney, did not comment after the verdict. When he spoke The Associated Press on Monday before the verdict, Green quoted former New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay: “Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order.”
Huff was stopped by Tennessee officers in April 2010 and told them he was bringing guns into the state from Dallas, Ga., to support efforts to arrest Monroe County officials who refused to indict Obama.
Huff was a part of a Georgia militia and the ‘birther’ movement that disputes Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
Officers testified Huff was carrying a loaded Colt .45 in a holster on his hip plus an assault rifle and 200 or 300 rounds of ammunition in a tool box in his truck. They said he also had a document he claimed was a “citizens’ arrest warrant” for officials, saying they were domestic enemies and had been charged with treason.
Huff testified that he wanted to help Walter Fitzpatrick, a military retiree living in Madisonville, who was arrested after he tried to put the local grand jury foreman under citizen’s arrest. Fitzpatrick, who became hostile to the government two decades ago when he faced a court-martial, is in jail over that incident.
Huff choked back tears as he told the jury Friday that he was humiliated because “my government has called me a potential domestic terrorist.”
He denied he threatened to take over the courthouse in Monroe County, which is about halfway between Knoxville and Chattanooga.
“I have never made a statement about taking over the courthouse, the city, the state, nothing,” Huff said.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan ordered Huff into custody following the jury’s conviction. Huff, wearing a light green shirt and khakis, was handcuffed by officers in the courtroom. A sentencing hearing was scheduled in February.

Courthouse Takeover Testimony

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Georgia militia member testified Friday at his trial in a bizarre attempted courthouse takeover case, fighting back tears and saying “my government has called me a potential domestic terrorist.”
Prosecutors contend Darren Wesley Huff of Dallas, Ga., drove to East Tennessee with a handgun and an AK-47 on April 20, 2010, after threatening to use force and to sacrifice his life if necessary to take over the city of Madisonville and the Monroe County Courthouse.
Huff is charged with carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. He is also charged with using a firearm in relation to another felony, which on conviction carries a mandatory two-year minimum prison sentence.
After getting the case late Friday, jurors decided to begin deliberating Monday.

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State ‘Co-Managing’ Four Memphis Schools

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The state will help manage four failing Memphis city schools this year, which could lead to large shifts in faculty and staff.
The schools are Frayser High, Hamilton High, Northside High and Raleigh-Egypt Middle School. Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash told The Commercial Appeal that the state is co-managing the schools along with the school system.
“Co-managing is not the state taking over; it is the state working closely with us to see what additional resources we need,” Cash said.
Any school in a formal turnaround process has to have its principal and up to 50 percent of staff replaced. Some of those replacements will be filled through The New Teacher Project, a New York nonprofit that helps districts and principals find candidates for hard-to-staff subjects or schools.
Memphis is also getting 150 new Teach for America members this year to help fill openings.
The school system is waiting to get spring testing results to make decisions about staffing, said Roderick Richmond, chief of operation. Since some of the schools have been on a critical list for some time, “we have already been working toward that 50 percent,” Richmond said.
High schools with graduation rates below 60 percent graduation now are eligible for the statewide district of failing schools, called the Achievement School District. Before Tennessee was awarded money through the federal race Race to the Top program, those schools only had to show graduation progress to be in good standing.