MORGANTOWN — A father and son who say they are Washitaw Moor Nationals are suing two Monongalia County sheriff’s deputies and a tow truck driver.
Reggie Robinson El and his son, Alajuan Robinson, filed the suit against Deputy J.D. Morgan and Sgt. Pintez, as well as an unidentified tow truck driver from Waterfront Towing LLC. The suit does not provide Pintez’s full name.
In the self-filed suit, Robinson El stated he has been a Washitaw Moor National since October 2017. The incident is alleged to have occurred June 13, 2017. The suit was filed this week.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes Moorish sovereign citizens as: “A collection of independent organizations and lone individuals that emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the antigovernment sovereign citizens movement, which believes that individual citizens hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, the authority of federal and state governments.”
Moorish sovereigns believe they are immune from federal, state and local authorities and use that immunity to refuse to pay taxes, auto insurance or register vehicles, the SPLC stated.
Some Moorish sovereigns refer to themselves with Africanized names that incorporate “el” or “bey.”
Sheriff Perry Palmer did not comment on the suit.
The suit asks for $500,000 in compensory (sic) damages from each defendant and $500,000 in punitive damages for mental and emotional suffering, loss of esteem, and willful and egregious deprivation of rights. It demands the return of all private property seized and an injunction and judicial notice “discouraging law enforcement from unlawful seizures of private property.”
According to the suit:
Alajuan Robinson and two guests, Brandon Jones and Adam Hill, were driving on Green Bag Road to watch the NBA Championship when Pintez pulled the vehicle over. It did not say where they planned to watch the game.
Pintez asked Alajuan Robinson what kind of license plate was on the vehicle, and Robinson said it was a Moorish American diplomatic plate. Robinson was asked to provide his driver’s license and registration. He told Pintez he had a license but was not required by law to show it because he was just traveling and not using the vehicle for commerce.
Pintez asked Robinson and the others to step out of the car, which they did. Robinson was cuffed, and Pintez searched the vehicle. The deputy told Robinson he was being charged with obstruction of justice and called for backup.
Morgan arrived, and Robinson told the deputies he was exercising his right to freely travel on streets and highways without fear of detainment, harassment or molestation. Morgan laughed and said Robinson watched too much Facebook, the suit alleges.
Jones and Hill called Robinson El, and Robinson was placed in the back of a police car. Robinson El arrived and told the deputies he reserved “all constitutional rights without prejudice.”
Robinson El asked Pintez and Morgan for their names, badge numbers and proof of security bonds and asked why his son was being detained. Pintez told him Robinson would be charged with obstruction of justice for refusing to show his license and registration.
Robinson El asked the deputies to release his son to him, which they did.
Shortly after, a tow truck from Waterfront Towing arrived and towed Robinson’s 2001 Ford Explorer. Robinson El asked why his personal property was being taken, and Morgan told him driving in West Virginia is a privilege, not a right, and the state requires all vehicles to be properly registered.
Robinson El was told he would receive a copy of the tow paperwork in the mail, but as of the July 16 suit, he alleges he has not.
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