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“Everyone agrees the 2nd American Revolution is far overdue. We have waited to [sic] long and been to [sic] timid in the defense of liberty and justice, both now gone, we witness the horror of the unfolding police state. The daily injustices only furthers our resolve to take action, the stage is being set, our rage will become a fury upon them,” wrote Brent Douglas Cole in September 2013. Less than a year later, he found himself in a gun battle with state and federal law enforcement officials.

Cole, a racist, anti-Semitic, self-described “sovereign citizen” camping in the northern California woods has been accused of shooting a California Highway Patrol officer and a Bureau of Land Management ranger during a confrontation on June 15.

The incident began when a Bureau of Land Management ranger contacted the California Highway Patrol and asked for backup on an investigation involving vehicles at a wooded campground in Nevada County, California, a remote spot near Nevada City, a few miles west of Lake Tahoe and the Nevada border.

According to The Union newspaper, at around 2:30pm the two officers headed together down a small brush trail leading towards a remote makeshift campsite, they were confronted by 60-year-old Brent Douglas Cole.

Gunfire was exchanged. The BLM ranger was wounded by a gunshot to his right shoulder, and the CHP officer suffered minor injuries. The two officers were treated and released at local hospitals.

Cole was also hit several times. He remains in custody at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, where he is listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

Cole has had numerous run-ins with law enforcement, including weapons-related incidents. Most recently, in late January he was arrested by Nevada County sheriff’s deputies and charged with carrying a loaded firearm on one’s person and carrying a concealed firearm in his vehicle. His trial was scheduled to start at the end of June.

In the documents filed in Nevada County Superior Court, Cole asserted that “Officers acted without warrant or any probable cause to seize my person using a swat [sic] team style assault, and then started looking for something to charge me with. I was attacked and molested, unconstitutionally arrested, unlawfully incarcerated, repeatedly intimidated and coerced to plead guilty to having committed a crime, held in secret for five days, and my property and liberty taken from me since January 26, 2014. I am being persecuted for being a gun owner, and for exercising my inherent Right by unwitting or unknowing accomplices of a seditious conspiracy against rights instituted by foreign powers inimical to the United States of America.”

Cole has described himself as “a sovereign American Citizen attempting to thwart the obvious conspiracy and subterfuges of powers inimical to the United States,” and given himself the fictitious title of “Statutory Attorney General of the United States.”

Reams of court document filings and a plethora of internet posts detail Cole’s involvement with bogus sovereign citizen legal theories.  He also often posted racist items on Facebook about President Obama and his birth certificate alongside anti-Semitic rants about Jewish bankers and the New World Order. He also “liked” anti-Semitic pages including “USA is Israil’s Bitch” and “9/11’s Zionized Police State” He also “liked” far-right groups including the Tea Party group FreedomWorks, the militia backed Oath Keepers, and Gun Owners of America.

The Nevada County shootout is one of several confrontations between far-right activists and law enforcement in recent weeks. On June 6, a self-described sovereign citizen died in a gunfight with law enforcement while trying to storm a Georgia courthouse. On June 8, a pair of Tea Party followers killed two police officers and another man in Las Vegas before dying in a firefight.

Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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