The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Bank Robber, a ‘Moorish National,’ Makes Spectacular Jail Escape

By Don Terry on December 19, 2012 - 4:07 pm, Posted in Black Separatist, Extremist Crime

One of two bank robbers who made a daring jail break Tuesday morning, shimmying 15 stories down the side of a high-rise lockup in downtown Chicago on a rope of bedsheets, claimed at his trial to be a “Moorish national,” exempt from federal laws that forbid such things as taking large sums of cash at gunpoint from terrified tellers.

More than 24 hours after the escape, the robbers, Kenneth Conley, 38, and Joseph Banks, 37, the self-proclaimed “Moor,” remained at large today with dragnets of heavily armed federal and local law enforcement officers on their trail.

The men were last seen in a south suburb and are believed to be traveling together. The FBI offered a $50,000 reward this morning for the escapees’ capture, which is about $550,000 less than Banks reportedly took in just two robberies where, brandishing a pistol, he vaulted bank counters and stuffed stacks of money into a bag.

So-called Moors are typically black nationalists who, like their kissing cousins in the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, deny the jurisdiction and authority of the government. For the Moors, that is based on the theory that they are the real sovereign natives of North America, and the whites who came later and their government have no right to rule them. As a rule, the various Moorish groups have produced little or no violence, even if their view of history is unique.

The sovereign citizens movement, on the other hand, originated in a white supremacist ideology that basically said that America was given by God to the white man, and that as a result no government can impose its laws and taxes on them. (Today, the white supremacist aspect of the ideology, which said that black people could not be sovereigns, has been largely forgotten and many sovereigns are black.) Sovereigns are best known for filing bogus court documents, including property liens against their enemies — so-called “paper terrorism.” Several have murdered law enforcement officials in just the last few years.

AP photo

Some Moorish groups, including the Moorish Science Temple of America that was founded in 1913, strenuously protest being lumped in with sovereign citizens, saying that they are, in fact, citizens of the United States.

Banks, who fired his lawyers and represented himself at his bank robbery trial last week in federal court, reportedly told the judge that he was a “Moorish National from the Republic of Illinois.”

At one point during his trail, Banks had to be strapped to a wheelchair after trying to leave the courtroom.

The jury quickly found Banks guilty. He was awaiting sentencing, scheduled for late March, when he escaped yesterday. After being convicted, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Banks vowed that he would be “seeking retribution” and assured the judge, as he was led out of the courtroom, “You’ll hear from me.’’

FBI spokeswoman and Special Agent Joan Hyde declined today to provide details of the improbable jailbreak, which came on a busy weekday morning just a few blocks from Chicago’s bustling financial district. “Right now our focus is locating and apprehending them,” she said.

According to local media accounts, however, the escape was straight out of Hollywood.

When jail employees arrived at work at around 7 Tuesday morning, they noticed a lengthy piece of rope made out of bedsheets dangling from at least 15 stories up the 26-story Metropolitan Correctional Center, on the southern edge of the Loop. According to some accounts, the escapees may actually have descended 20 stories on the rope, which was fitted with twin harnesses to hold the men.

After a quick headcount, the authorities realized that Banks and Conley, who were cellmates, were gone. A slim hole had been cut out of a window.

Banks, described in the Sun-Times as “one of the most prolific bank robbers in Chicago history,” was known as “The Second-Hand Bandit” because he wore thrift store clothes as a disguise.

He had a lot of time to plan his escape. He had been in the federal lockup since shortly after his arrest in 2008.

Conley arrived at the jail in the fall of 2011. A former strip-club floor host, according to the paper, Conley was not nearly as accomplished a bank robber as Banks. Conley got less than $4,000 from his holdup.

In a scene that could have come straight from Clint Eastwood’s “Escape from Alcatraz,” the two convicted robbers had stuffed clothes and sheets under their blankets to make it appear they were sleeping.

Then they apparently squeezed through the narrow broken window, shimmied down the fragile rope of bed sheets and disappeared into the Chicago morning, headed, perhaps, to the sovereign “Republic of Illinois” — wherever that is.

  • supersonic250

    This post is so old, I dunno if you’ll see it, but I graduated from college in December, Aron. ^^;

  • Aron

    Linnea, Supersonic250 is even younger than me! I think he might even still be in high school :)

  • Bill Falls

    Kudos to the writer of this article. It’s nice to see the SPLC indulging in a bit of wit – they’re usually so sober.

  • Reynardine

    In fact, I used to be younger, but that was a while back.

  • Reynardine

    I believe Aron is younger than you. But you’re right, most of us have been kicked up and down scarred-*trail a few times. I’m this old Sixties battle axe.

  • Linnea

    Neither of the above, Rey. I was a kid in the ’80’s, and graduated high school in ’95. In fact, I’m willing to bet that I’m one of the youngest posters here. When I go to SPLC meet-and-greet events here in the Twin Cities, I’m almost always the youngest person there… usually by about 15-20 years and sometimes more.

  • Reynardine

    Linnea, I’ve known only two people in my life with your name. If you were either a UU minister in the 1980’s or a U.S. District Judge in the ’90’s, we may have met.

  • Reynardine

    Although he was caught, Linnea, there’s enough stuff in this to inspire a future movie that could rival the Blues Brothers if it’s done right.

  • Aron


    You should totally join in! Even if you aren’t as ‘great’ (*cough*cough*) at it as I am, we would love to welcome you to our little club of Eugene Vanquishers. You’ll get a nifty lapel pin when you send in your first annual dues!

  • Linnea

    Darn, looks like I missed all the fun on this thread. Half the reason I frequent this blog is to watch Rey, Kiwiwriter, Erika, and the rest of you play Whack-a-Troll. I’d join in, but I’m not half as good at it.

    But back to the main topic: I agree with Aron, I almost wish he isn’t caught, just for the sheer entertainment value of seeing what he’ll do next. This would indeed make a great movie.

  • Reynardine

    Actually, Kiwi, I am old enough to remember Bushman, the magnificent gorilla of Lincoln Park Zoo, and I am sure his offspring would prove superior to those of Eugene/Ezra/Annie/Jason, etc. We will not even consider He Who Shall Not Be Named, because breedings with corpses are not fertile.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Well, Ezra/Jason/Eugene/Annie:

    I’ve been a busy fellow in the wake of the coup d’etat (I mean “Presidential Election”), in setting up those relocation camps with the Ministry of Love (I mean the temporary housing for Sandy victims with FEMA), so I haven’t had time to laugh at your latest extrusions.

    I can tell you that Miniluv is all set up for that greatest fear you have, the “mongrelization of the races.” Yes. We’re going to round up all the butthurt while racist males, haul them out of their parents’ basements, and imprison them in relocation camps, where they will be forced to impregnate loud, pushy, and obnoxious black women. (Regrettably for you and your allies, white men who behave in a more refined and civilized manner will be given the opportunity to impregnate attractive and polite black women).

    To ensure that the imprisoned white men impregnate as many women as possible, they will be “inspired” to perform by the cultural portion of the operation, our dominatrix, “Wanton Wanda and Her Wicked Whips,” who will use her abilities to inspire our prisoners to perform better.

    This will ensure that after the end of the world today, a new race of men will appear that will include all ethnicities.

    Now, back to you. Once again you have asked us questions that are off-topic, and irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    Well, according to you, the regulars here are all a bunch of leftists who tell “Communist lies.” Furthermore, you believe that all leftists live in “crummy basement apartments in college towns” and never had a job or a girlfriend, and are all overweight homosexual deviants.

    Given this as a baseline, my answer to you — for the moment — is to absolutely deny your statement. Obviously, in accordance with your previous ex cathedra statements on the lives and behavior of leftists, I herewith categorically deny that your statements about the homes, lives, and financial statuses of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Michael Moore, are true.

    According to your all-seeing knowledge, they must live in “crummy basement apartments in college towns,” and never have held a real job, a real wife, or a girlfriend, be overweight, homosexual deviants, and are jealous of persons with real jobs and cars. Q.E.D.

    Now, when you answer the questions I put to you below, in their entirety, omitting nothing, I’ll give you a truthful answer to your questions about the lives of these persons you denounce. Until then, your test awaits, and I advise you to take it in full.

    Please note that there are additional questions. When there are 100 questions, each question will be worth one point.

    1. If you’re here to “debate leftists,” why are you ignoring their responses?
    2. If you don’t read “their posts anymore,” why are you here?
    3. How can you have their posts on “permanent ignore,” when they’re put on a weblog, not sent in a stand-alone e-mail to you?
    4. When you have had a “real job and a wife and family, and a nice home and car he worked for?”
    5. Why should Ruslan Amirkhanov “go away?” Are you the webmaster of this site?
    6. How do you propose to enforce that demand?
    7. Do you seriously expect anybody to obey your demands at this point? You have already stated that we are “crazy,” so why are you issuing them?
    8. If Ruslan is a “crazy person” and you “don’t read him,” why should it matter if he is here or not?
    9. On that line, why should it matter what he writes? Is he ruining your life?
    10. You have repeatedly stated that what appears on this web page “does not matter” and is “not important.” Why, then, are you so concerned with it?
    11. Do you believe that freedom of speech only applies to you?
    12. What legal or racial theory is that based on?
    13. How are you such an expert on the lifestyles of leftists?
    14. According to you leftists “all probably live in a college town in a crummy basement apartment, doing drugs, with no job, never even had a girlfriend. They’re probably all gay, unattractive, effeminate, overweight slobs. Basically deviants. So they get mad when the see a normal healthy man who has a job, looks good, is clean cut, and has a real job and a wife and family, and has a nice home and car he worked for. So these losers are all jealous.” If “leftists” are “deviants” in the first place, why would they be “jealous” of others?
    15. Leftists include Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and John F. Kennedy. Were any of them “gay, unattractive, effeminate, overweight slobs?”
    16. Leftist war heroes include Theodore Roosevelt (Spanish-American War), Harry S. Truman (World War I and dropper of two atomic bombs), John F. Kennedy (World War II), George McGovern (World War II), Al Gore (Vietnam), and John Kerry (Vietnam). Were they “gay, unattractive, effeminate, overweight slobs?”
    17. Does the term “projection” mean anything to you?
    18. You indicate intense anger at and obsession with leftists who have made a great deal of money and live well through their own energy and hard work. Is this because you still live in your parents’ basement and have never earned a penny in your entire life?
    19. You claim that I and the other regular posters here are deviants who live in “crummy basement apartments in college towns” who have never had jobs, wives, or girlfriends. Please give your research, sources, footnotes, and interviews that have enabled you to come up with such a detailed description of our lives, and explain to us who we are and what we are doing.
    20. You have asked us for our “10-year-resumes,” which I presume is part of that research. Since you are now defining us, please present those “resumes” for review.
    21. In one of your many incarnations, you have urged your opponents to do the following: “I urge both of you to focus your lives on real world issues that will improve your lives, such as getting a better paying job, joining the military, getting married, saving up to buy a home, or doing anything that will make a real man out of you.” Have you done any of the above?
    22. If you have joined the military, please list your service branch, medals, and campaigns.
    23. We notice that nowhere in your prescription for life to you include the concept of “community service.” Can you explain this?
    24. Please define “Community service.”
    25. Have you engaged in any acts of community service, e.g., serving in government, supporting charities, mentoring youth, participating in fundraisers for charities or awareness campaigns to address diseases, or even given blood?
    26. If so, please list all such incidents.
    27. You have also stated, “The posters on here are all a bunch of anti-white bigots and haters. They speak nothing but lies.” Why are you therefore continuing to engage “liars” in dialogue?
    28. Why are you so obsessed with the sexuality of leftists and whether or not they have girlfriends?
    29. You indicate that leftists are “gay.” Why would a gay person be “jealous” of someone with a “wife” of the opposite sex?
    30. Where did you gain you expertise in gay lifestyles?
    31. Why have you changed your sex in your names?
    32. You say that all leftists “live in college towns in crummy basement apartments, doing drugs, with no job.” By that logic, how do they pay the rent?
    33. You claim to have a Ph.D. and be a tenured professor. Where is that college and what do you teach, and what have you written for your dissertation?
    34. What do your colleagues and students think about your statement denouncing your “college town?”
    35. Does watching black women perform on music videos make someone an expert on black culture, or on the culture created by black musicians and white music promoters?
    36. Why, if you think that American blacks are not “your people,” are you so fascinated with black music videos?
    37. How does the behavior of black performers in music videos compare with the behavior of white performers in professional wrestling?
    38. Have you done any peer-reviewed or accredited term papers on the connection between music videos and the behavior of ordinary black and white people? If so, please provide the link.
    39. You are apparently well-informed on the sexual practices and movements of black women. What research have you undertaken in this field, and where can your reports be found?
    40. Did that research include sexual encounters with black women? If so, please list all of them, the types of encounters, positions used, the personal information about the involved persons, and whether or not these encounters were provided willingly or for hire.
    41. Did you practice “safe sex” during this research?
    42. How do you square these acts of miscegenation with Nazi racial laws that forbid such behavior?
    43. Have any of these encounters resulted in children? If so, are you supporting them?
    44. Does watching documentaries about remote African tribes make one an expert on African-American life?
    45. Are loud and pushy women in supermarkets a threat to America’s survival?
    46. Are loud and pushy black women in supermarkets a threat to America’s future?
    47. Are you being forced to marry or reproduce with loud and pushy black women?
    48. Why are you so obsessed with loud and pushy black women in supermarkets?
    49. Are these loud and pushy black women preventing you from shopping?
    50. Have you written a peer-reviewed academic paper on loud and pushy black women in supermarkets? If so, please provide the link.
    51. Does watching music videos featuring loud black women and seeing loud and pushy black women make you an expert on famine in the Ukraine in the 1930s?
    52. Are you sexually obsessed with loud and pushy black women?
    53. You indicate a fascination with loud and pushy black women. Do you find quiet and polite black women sexually attractive?
    54. Please list any and all black women that you find sexually attractive.
    55. In what field did you earn your Ph.D. and where can we find your dissertation?
    56. You claim that you answer all arguments with data. Please provide links to this data, and show that it has met academic standards. (As a Ph.D. with tenure at a university, you must know what those are)
    57. Tell us how the Russian people greeted their Nazi invaders with flowers, with proofs and citations.
    58. Tell us how Stalin intended to mate captured German civilians with monkeys to create a super-race, with proofs and citations. Your statement: “In the closing days of WWII the Soviet army was an entire army of rapists. Stalin had a secret agreement with Churchill and Roosevelt to take 4 million German civilians as slaves to Siberia to work in the Gulags — German women, old people teenagers, children. German babies were even taken for medical experiments. Stalin has a nightmarish dream of breeding humans with gorillas to create a super race of human/ape hybrids, which of course, failed. Read yourself in the Yalta agreement. It says the Soviets can take civilians as ‘labor in kind’ — meaning SLAVES!” Can you prove this with documentary evidence, such as examples of this “super race of human/ape hybrids?”
    59. Why would “human/ape hybrids” be a “super race?” Would they be superior to, say, the Aryan race?
    60. Please give your academic credentials in biology and anthropology in support of this statement.
    61. Tell us how Norman Rockwell sided with Hitler, with proofs and citations.
    62. Please give your academic credentials in art in support of this statement.
    63. Show us your proof that the white man is superior to the black man, with academic citations.
    64. You have also told us that you do not associate with neo-Nazis like Hal Turner, and so forth. Yet you have also said, on May 3rd, 2012 at 11:20 pm: “What’s wrong with being a neo-Nazi?” You have also said, “America is an evil country. While our brave young men were fighting in the East to stop the Asiatic hoards [sic], America bombed our civilians. There were no German soldiers left in the cities near the end of WWII. There were only babies, old people, young children, women. Yet the Americans bombed these civilians. During all this time our brave young men were fighting against Communism. America is an evil country. America fought on the side of evil during WWII. And evil won that war.” How can you rectify this hypocrisy?
    65. What do your colleagues and superiors at your university think about you being a neo-Nazi adherent?
    66. As an educator, how do you treat Jews and blacks in your classes?
    67. Have you received any complaints from them for your racism or anti-Semitism?
    68. In an earlier post, you said you would prove your theories to us, only if we pay you vast sums of money. Does that mean you are only involved in neo-Nazism for personal gain? Statement: “FYI: I do not read any of your responses. I never click on your links. I am not going to do any work for you or answer your questions for free. I don’t do that.”
    69. Isn’t demanding money for personal financial gain in exchange for proving your cause a tactic of the Jews and blacks that you despise?
    70. Why are you using tactics of the very people you detest?
    71. Doesn’t behaving like a Jew or a black make you a Jew or a black?
    72. When are you going to provide us with that e-mail address for our 10-year resumes?
    73. You have said, “Someday you’ll be on a talk show, flogging one of your novels, and you’ll complain, ‘I once debated this guy named Ezra on the Internet and he ignored all my posts, even though they were so clever’. Then you will burst out into tears on live TV.” Care to explain this in 1,000 words or less?
    74. Isn’t a statement like the above an example of using the evil leftist debate terms of “epithets, slurs, invective,” and therefore not becoming a white nationalist and neo-Nazi?
    75. You repeatedly ask us to defend or deny various statements and positions. However, you have also stated that you refuse to read anything we say. Why are you asking us questions about our positions if you do not read our answers?
    76. You have also stated that we are “Communist liars.” If we are liars, why are you asking us where we stand on any issue, since all we state are lies.
    77. You have repeatedly said that you can create a website with your own worldview. Why have you not done so?
    78. You have repeatedly given differing topics as being the “important question.” Can you indicate a set of principles, aka a “political platform,” to consistently give your positions?
    79. Since your positions, names, identities, and views are constantly changing, how can you say you have any core integrity?
    80. If we are all crazy people, why are you wasting valuable time here instead of making your own web page?

    You will be tested on this material. Please fill in all the information. If you fail to do so, the questions will be repeated until you have completed the assigned test. If you do not complete the assignment, you must withdraw from the class. See the bursar’s office.

  • Bill Gibbs

    Be careful with that axe Eugene.

  • Reynardine

    Happy Solstice!

  • Reynardine

    Banks has been caught. Conly in still running.

  • concernedcitizen

    It’s really not cool to go around killing cops. If the sovereigns and other groups like them are there committing murder then it appears that this movement is more like homegrown terrorism.

  • concernedcitizen

    When is the movie going to be released?

  • hunglikejesus

    All I can think about is climbing down a 15 story building on bed sheets. It give me the absolute creeps. That should really be punishment enough, if they didn’t hurt anyone that is.

  • Sam Molloy

    I suppose there are no banks in Moorland, wherever that may be. Those darn Moors would be robbing them all the time.

  • Mitch Beales

    Eugene, Jason, and all the rest do you deny that you are raving lunatics?

  • Reynardine

    My native city has never lacked for picturesque crooks. There’s at least one movie in this.

  • Reynardine

    Eugene, you have just convinced me you are Jason, who is a committee.

  • Molly Banks

    Hehe, I kind of like when bank robbers get away…. wall street CEO’s do the sane thing, every day, yet they have their freedom and live in billion dollar homes.

    Run Bankley, run…

  • Eugene

    Ruslan, ADM, Erica, Kiwi, all the rest ….

    Do you deny that Bill & Hillary Clinton live in Chappaqua, New York? Do you deny that Chappaqua, New York is > 90% White? And they live in a beautiful mansion? Do you deny that Hillary Clinton is worth 40 million dollars? Do you deny that Al Gore lives in a 10,000 sq. ft. Mansion in Tennessee, on almost 90 acres? And that he recently bought a 9 million dollar villa in Montecito, California? Do you deny that Michael Moore is a multi-millionaire? That he has a beautiful home in Traverse City, MI? And another home in New York City?

  • Aron

    That’s absolutely incredible. The sheer amount of chutzpah required to undertake that escape may never be quantifiable.

    I almost don’t want them to be caught, just to see what they do next. Almost.