Fw: Shoemaker arrested--1.3 million bail
- From: hawkiyeSent: Saturday, June 17, 2000 3:09 PMSubject: Re: Shoemaker arrested--1.3 million bailHeres what you can expect if you stand for freedom!
Local News: 6/17/2000
Militia may proceed with protest
By Stephen A. Martin
The Hawk Eye
• Court: Roughed up, jailed and unemployed, Shoemaker makes his first court appearance.
GALESBURG, Ill. -- Members of the Western Illinois Militia say they may carry out a planned demonstration today even though authorities have jailed their leader.
Militia member Trent Lawrence said other members of the self-styled group may go through with the armed protest Dan Shoemaker said he'd planned to conduct on the public square.
"Or we may wait a week," he said. "And Galesburg may not possibly be the right spot."
Shoemaker was arrested Thursday morning and charged with nine felony counts for alleged threats against Knox County Sheriff James Thompson and Galesburg Police Chief John Schlaf. Three more felony charges were filed after a search of his car outside an Abingdon, Ill., school reportedly turned up firearms, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest was filed Thursday morning.
Three additional charges await Shoemaker in Warren County involving alleged threats against Sheriff Richard "Floaty" Hart.
Shoemaker, sporting a blackened left eye and a 3-inch gash on his forehead, made his first appearance in court Thursday.
Circuit Judge James Stewart read Shoemaker the charges and appointed Public Defender James Harrell to represent the nationally known author of the "U.S. Militiaman's Handbook."
Shoemaker was soft spoken as he listened attentively to the judge and to a description of the evidence presented by Knox County State's Attorney Paul Mangieri. While the judge advised him not to make statements until he has had the opportunity to consult with his attorney, he did indicate he took issue with the prosecutor's version of events.
"There are differences I have with what was stated," he said.
A sheriff's department employee said Thompson suffered a "slightly separated shoulder" while a deputy suffered a "bruised knee." Both were on duty as usual Friday.
Shoemaker, who needed 20 stitches after the arrest, called attention to the seemingly lopsided score and asked about the arresting officer.
"Did he have any marks on him?" he said.
Security was tight around the courthouse. Three armed deputies in body armor and tactical gear escorted the handcuffed militia chief into the courtroom while four other deputies with guns at their hips stood at various points.
Outside the courtroom, several other armed officers patrolled the hallways and one deputy armed with a fully automatic M-16 assault rifle stood guard outside the main entrance.
In spite of the measure, however, Lawrence and fellow militia member Richard Reeves -- both of whom are known to authorities as part of the militia group and whose pictures appear on the militia's Web site -- said they were able to enter and leave the courthouse with ease.
They also made light of a policy that requires the general public to submit to a metal detector while some said the measures authorities are taking simply prove the point Shoemaker wanted to make.
The two said the protest, intended to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, was to be a peaceful demonstration even though Shoemaker said he'd be armed with a semi-automatic assault-style weapon as he walked around the square.
It's an act they said is legal in nearly half the American states, as long as the weapon remains in plain view.
In Illinois, however, it's a crime for a private citizen to carry a functioning firearm within a city. They say the law is unconstitutional, and the protest was meant to demonstrate the disconnect between state law and what is supposed to be the nation's highest legal document.
Now, Reeves said, Shoemaker is in jail while a deputy stands on the courthouse lawn with a weapon of war.
"Why is that man morally superior to Dan Shoemaker to stand there with an M-16?" he said.
While the man who has publicly described himself as the head of the militia since 1995 remains in jail, the two said Kenny Butler of rural Oquawka, Ill., is in charge of the group estimated at 50 to 200 members.
They said they are under orders not to attempt a raid on the jail to release their leader.
Mangieri said in court Shoemaker threatened authorities by telling them in personal conversations and in writing he would resist if police or deputies were to attempt to detain him while he mounted his protest. The prosecutor said he told them they shouldn't try to arrest him because they wouldn't want to turn their communities into "a smoking battlefield."
Shoemaker indicated he does not have the financial means to hire a private attorney, saying as of Friday he is no longer employed by the Abingdon school district where he had worked as a custodian.
The judge added another $300,000 to Shoemaker's $1 million bond for the weapons charges and the charge of resisting arrest, meaning he would now have to raise $130,000 in cash to be released. Even if he did, he still faces active warrants in Warren County and another $1 million bond there.
Reeves described the charges as "trumped up" and questioned allegations the weapons Shoemaker had in his car weren't stored in accordance with the law.
He said Shoemaker regularly unloaded and cased his weapons while transporting them in his car, "as a matter of safety, not as a matter of law."
While authorities seem to be treating their group as leaderless followers unable to act without Shoemaker, Reeves said the militia is alive and well under Butler's command and awaiting the authorities' next move.
"The leadership of the militia is still intact," he said.
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