Jerry Kane, the man who with his son shot and killed two police officers after being pulled over in Arkansas last week, was a largely unsuccessful traveling pitchman for an esoteric anti-government theory known as “Redemption,” telling desperate homeowners facing foreclosure that they did not have to pay off their mortgages because bank loans are fundamentally illegitimate, according to JJ MacNab, a Maryland insurance analyst who tracks anti-tax and anti-debt schemes.
“He was one of the followers of the Redemption method, the idea being because the bank loaned you money from someone else’s checking account, it’s committing fraud. Therefore, you don’t have to pay your loan,” says MacNab, who first encountered Kane about four years ago when, she says, he began posting on a now-defunct Web forum called SuiJuris.net.
Kane and his young son were killed by police in a second confrontation shortly after the traffic stop.
Redemption theory is described by the Anti-Defamation League as based on the premise that “a bankrupt United States converted the physical bodies of its citizens into assets against which it could sell bonds, and that knowledgeable people can ‘redeem’ these assets and, through manipulating them and various imagined accounts, use them to their advantage. Much of the rhetoric is, as is common with ‘sovereign citizen’/’common law’ theories, nearly incomprehensible and often laced with Biblical references used as points of law.”
MacNab says the SuiJuris.net was inhabited by followers of the sovereign citizen movement, which holds that most government institutions are illegitimate.
About two years ago, at the height of the mortgage crisis, Kane shifted from being a poster to a promoter of his own debt elimination seminars, MacNab says. According to his website (the password, as publicly revealed by Kane, is “makeme”), Kane criss-crossed the country, giving recent seminars in Arizona, California, and Las Vegas. When he was killed in Arkansas Thursday, he was en route to Florida, and was then scheduled to go back to the West Coast this summer.
Kane’s site features links to standard foreclosure documents along with obscure texts like “The Law of Negotiable Instruments,” written in 1904 by one Major D.H. Boughton, a Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, cavalry instructor.
MacNab says that some of Kane’s competitors — debt elimination pitchmen like Tim Turner of americacanbefree.com and Sam Davis of statusisfreedom.com — can pack a room with ticket-paying guests in a cheap hotel or event hall. But Kane, in his regular appearance (.mp3) on an amateur Web radio show earlier this month, complained he wasn’t having much success.
“I had a class in Denver back in January, and I went to Denver and not one person showed up for it,” Kane said.
In the Web radio appearance, held on a community call service called TalkShoe, Kane comes of as sluggish and incoherent, lacking even the superficial charisma and fluency with language associated with successful motivational speakers. Still, enthusiastic listeners keep calling in to hear Kane hold forth about how to use “deeds of trust” and “power of attorney” to advantage during foreclosure proceedings.
Traveling the country with Kane was his 16-year-old son Joe, who was also killed by police Thursday. At one seminar at which Joe Kane appeared with his father, Jerry Kane reportedly bragged to the audience: “Can anybody tell that my son has never been to school? … He slipped though the cracks.”
Jerry and Joe Kane’s home in Springfield, Ohio, was itself foreclosed on in 2006, according to WREG in Memphis.
A resentment for the government appears to undergird much of Kane’s thinking. Speaking on the May radio show of his arrest and brief imprisonment in New Mexico (mugshot above) for driving without a license, Kane said he was “putting together an invoice for him for approximately $80,000 in gold for eight uses of my name” by the police.
Of the arresting officer, he said: “I’ve already done a background check on him, I found out where he lives, his address, his wife’s name.” And continued: “They’re psychotic. Go look up the five categories of psychopaths. They get a sexual thrill out of it. They’re sick in the head, that’s all. So we just have to play their silly ass little games, go in there and kill the monster under the bed so to speak.”
Here’s a sample clip from one of Kane’s seminars: