Squatters Attempt to Take Over Davidson Home
Last Friday night, members of the self-described “Moorish Nation” were found squatting in a house on Concord Road in Davidson. The house belonged to the late Russell and Patricia Knox – parents of Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox. The home is currently for sale.
The squatters were discovered Friday night by the late couple’s son, Doug Knox, during a routine check of the property. Doug found the home occupied and told the people they were trespassing. Doug called the police, and a woman named Taqiyah Barber and a man named Turmaine Tyron Thorne were arrested and taken to the Mecklenburg County Jail.
The incident has the hallmarks of an actions by members of the Moorish Nation, a group well known by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. Several years ago, the same people occupied a house in the Piper Glen community for nearly three months, and they also attempted to take over a home in Myers Park. A news report from WSOC said that in July 2018, members of the “Cherokee Nation of Moors” filed liens on multiple properties in Dilworth near Freedom Park. In that case, media reports suggest that neighbors banded together to keep the squatters from returning to the property.
After their arrest on the Knox property here in Davidson, police records indicate Thorne and Barber bonded out of the Mecklenburg County Jail. Not unlike the incidents in Charlotte, members of the group had filed a quick claim deed in court declaring that they are owners of the property. It appears that signatures of members of the Knox family on the documents had been forged.
The Moorish nation movement is described on a Southern Poverty Center web site. “Moorish sovereign citizens espouse an antigovernment doctrine based on a belief that a 1787 treaty (fictitious) between the United States and Morocco grants them immunity from U.S. law…Self-declared Moorish sovereigns have been arrested in all regions of the country and many major cities within the United States.”
The North Carolina School of Government published a “Quick Guide to Sovereign Citizens” in 2012, and it includes information about the Moorish Nation. Specifically,
“Sovereign citizens tend to believe in squatters’ rights and have been known to move into houses that have been foreclosed and abandoned. They will fix up the place and have utilities turned on, then will file documents they believe confirm their new ownership of the property.
The point to remember is that, whatever circuitous and illogical route they take to get there, sovereign citizens reject the current federal, state and local governments and consider themselves outside their authority. Ironically enough, at the same time they may file paper after paper with the very courts whose legitimacy they deny, seeking to vindicate their common law rights.”
A 2013 Washington Post article described a national Moorish movement as a “growing national trend where self-described ‘sovereign’ nationals try to move into homes they don’t own.”
Sovereign nationals, law enforcement officials say, are a diverse group of individuals whose activities and motives vary, but whose core tenets include viewing United States citizenship, established government, authority, and institutions as illegitimate. Therefore, Moorish adherents consider themselves immune from, and therefore above, the law.
Moorish sovereigns are committing a wide range of minor or white-collar criminal activity, including traffic violations, house squatting, tax fraud, financial scams, and violations of government regulations. While their actions are mostly non-violent, they have been involved in deadly incidents with law enforcement personnel.
In this weekend’s incident, Thorne and Barber had used a U-Haul truck to move furniture into the home. The Knox family had it removed, and U-Haul picked up the vehicle with the contents inside. The squatters also had a car on the property, but it was also removed.
After the group was removed from the home, a detailed search by members of the Knox family revealed that gun was among items brought into the home by the squatters.
As of this Wednesday morning, “No Trespassing” signs have been posted on the house and grounds, and Davidson Police continue to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity related to this event.
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.