Daniel Townley, 51, of Sturtevant, filed a civil complaint in October with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin against the Caledonia Police Department, Racine County, City of Racine, and the state of Wisconsin alleging that they violated his fourth amendment rights, which have to do with search and seizure.
The alleged violations stem from a burglary that happened on Sept. 20 in the 5700 block of the East Frontage Road. The Racine County District Attorney’s Office charged Townley with two felony counts of burglary, illegally obtaining a prescription and trespassing, but he has not been convicted in Racine County Circuit Court on.the pending criminal case.
Suing for violations of federal law, Townley is demanding that his property be returned, his $1,000 bail (with interest), “one ice cold Dr. Pepper,” $1 million, a public apology, his boots polished, expungement of all records of arrest, the dismissal of all charges and prison sentence, and “writing the entire U.S. Constitution on every billboard in the State of Wisconsin,” according to federal court documents.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in a decision about dismissing Townley’s need to prepay a filing fee that some of Townley’s allegations of treason and tyranny were frivolous, but the unreasonable search and seizure claims were not. Adelman dismissed the State of Wisconsin as a defendant because it is not a person. Townley also filed a motion to suppress certain documents, which “appear to be related to the ‘sovereign citizen’ movement. Adelman also denied that motion.
Calls were made to Townley, but not returned.
According to Townley’s Facebook page, he is a “founder member” of a group called Digital Patriots & District of Free America. According to the Digital Patriots website, Townley “declared War & Independence from the ‘State of Wisconsin,’” and petitioned “for immediate State Hood in the United States of America, claiming rightful possession of; the State formerly known as “Wisconsin” for having the need to petition & throw off the Tyrannical government that is known to legislate in the current defined boundaries.”
According to the complaint, Townley claims that the Caledonia Police Department committed treason, the State of Wisconsin committed tyranny, Caledonia Police conducted an illegal search of his camper, the Racine County Sheriff’s Department unlawfully seized his property and illegally searched him, and Caledonia Police and the state broadcasted his personal information and committed libel when they published arrest records about him on CCAP, a state-run circuit court website.
Townley argues that the Caledonia Police Department maintained a “standing body of armed officers and/or militia with firepower greater than that of civil residents.” The claim also points to the state passing “pretend legislation to attempt or preside over this U.S. citizen in all matters.”
Further, Townley argues that the Caledonia Police searched his camper and seized his belongings without his permission or having a warrant, that they broadcasted “personal information on state TV” and implicated him before a warrant was issued, and then committed libel by publishing the arrest on the state Circuit Court Access website.
According to the complaint filed by the Racine County District Attorney’s office, Townley’s camper was about 50 yards south on an adjacent property. The property owner told police that he didn’t know Townley or give him permission to be on his land and that that he was trespassing. During the investigation, Townley’s sister told police he was homeless and was a suspect in another burglary in Marinette. However, court records do not show that he was charged with any other burglaries. When police searched the camper they found two flat screen televisions, multiple rifles, a shotgun, handgun rounds, and two AR15-type magazines. However, Townley has a license to conceal carry a gun.
The village has notified its insurance company, which will pay for defense counsel, said Elaine Eikes, the village’s attorney.
“I’ve heard of other municipalities that have had to defend themselves against federal cases like this before…” she said. “What’s interesting is that the plaintiff in this case is filing it as a sovereign citizen, and is claiming that Wisconsin doesn’t have jurisdiction over him.”