‘Sovereign Citizen’ David Myrland Sentenced To Federal Prison For Threats; U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan Lauds Mayor, City Officials Of Kirkland, Wash., For Courage During Sustained Intimidation Campaign
EDITOR’S NOTE: If Kirkland’s name sounds familiar to you — but you can’t quite place it — think about two of America’s great national pastimes: baseball and building things. Indeed, the city produced the 1982 Little League World Series champs, carding a thrilling win over a team from Taiwan, a youth-baseball powerhouse. Kirkland’s team became a source of tremendous U.S. pride, motivating the nation’s middle-schoolers to pursue excellence.
The Kirkland team further was immortalized by legendary sportscaster Jim McKay in the “thrill of victory” clip on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” (The joyous “thrill of victory” clip featuring the Kirkland team was juxtaposed against the program’s signature “agony of defeat” clip showing ski-jumper Vinko Bogataj’s jarring ramp crash at a competition in West Germany in 1970.)
Kirkland also is the home of Kenworth Truck Co., a renown nameplate whose parent firm, PACCAR, is a Fortune 500 company with 17,700 employees. (Source: 2010 annual report.) PACCAR and its subsidiaries, including Kenworth, create tens of thousands of ancillary jobs in the United States. In short, Kirkland is about excellence — and employment across America.
That Kirkland, a city that motivated young people to pursue excellence and has contributed so much to U.S. commerce and the building/rebuilding of the vital infrastructure of the United States, was subjected to a series of ugly, life-altering incidents by the “sovereign citizen movement” should be a subject of great introspection for all Americans . . .
UPDATED 2:03 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) David Russell Myrland, a Washington state “sovereign citizen” whose name is referenced in the criminal complaint filed Nov. 21 against AdSurfDaily figure Kenneth Wayne Leaming, has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for threatening the mayor of the Seattle suburb of Kirkland.
But Mayor Joan McBride, according to federal prosecutors, was not the only target of Myrland’s sustained intimidation campaign, which began in April 2010 with a garden-variety traffic stop by police and evolved into a stupefying drama that will live in infamy.
Myrland, 53, was pulled over for driving without a license plate. A police officer at the scene discovered he also had no driver’s license — though Myrland insisted it didn’t matter because “he was not subject to Washington State laws regarding driving,” federal prosecutors said.
If Myrland were arrested, prosecutors said he insisted, Myrland would become “constitutionally authorized to come to the officer’s residence and ‘arrest’ the officer” — and would be permitted to use “deadly force.”
McBride received a letter from Myrland telling her that 50 “armed men and women” would appear at her home to arrest her, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. The mayor, according to the Post-Intelligencer, was advised to facilitate her arrest by not locking her doors.
“DO NOT RESIST as these Citizens will be heavily armed,” the letter read in part, according to the Post-Intelligencer.
“Our cherished right to free speech does not extend to the freedom to make threats against our public officials and law enforcement officers,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan of the Western District of Washington.
Other Kirkland officials also were threatened by Myrland, Durkan’s office said yesterday in a statement.
In September 2010, Myrland “sent emails and placed calls” to Kirkland officials urging them to “keep their doors unlocked,” because they were going to be arrested and “should not resist,” prosecutors said.
Myrland initially was arrested on state charges, but not even his arrest stopped the intimidation campaign. Federal prosecutors filed charges “after his associates continued to send letters to local officials referencing the use of ‘deadly force’ to apprehend a ‘fleeing felon’ such as Kirkland city leaders,” Durkan’s office said.
During the probe, investigators linked Myrland to an “Assembly” of sovereign citizens with an “armed wing” known as the “County Rangers,” prosecutors said yesterday.
Leaming has been linked to the same groups, the FBI said last month. Leaming, 55, of the Pierce County, Wash., community of Spanaway, is accused of filing bogus liens in Washington state against at least five public officials involved in the ASD Ponzi case in the District of Columbia — nearly 3,000 miles away.
Among the allegations against Leaming is that he discussed a plan by which he’d serve U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts with a writ through the school his preteen children attend.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told Myrland at his sentencing yesterday that the law “applies to everyone,” as do “the consequences of breaking the law,” prosecutors said.
Whether Myrland, who also was ordered to pay Kirkland $1,961 for “police overtime costs” because of his threats and will be placed on supervised probation for three years after his prison release, got the message is an open question.
“He continues to this day to apparently believe that he was in the right, and everyone else is in the wrong,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “Despite his guilty plea, he continues to argue that he had a legal right to make the threats he made; that they were not legally threats; and that he was in the right in virtually every respect.”
Leaming repeatedly violated his probation after an earlier arrest for piloting an airplane without a license, the FBI said last month.