Mitch Taebel is an aspiring actor, director and anti-government extremist who interprets the Constitution to mean that — if he feels his rights have been violated — he has the right to break the law and execute law enforcement officers.
He merged his disparate careers last Wednesday when he made the evening news after engaging Arizona police on a high-speed chase.
The pursuit began west of Phoenix on Interstate 10 when Taebel refused to pull over for a traffic stop. It ended 60 miles later in Tempe when Taebel’s Jeep careened into an oncoming SUV. He was unscathed, but the crash victim suffered from multiple broken bones and was within inches of further bodily harm, according to the Maricopa County attorney. Taebel was arrested moments after exiting his vehicle and charged with 10 criminal counts including aggravated assault and endangerment.
On his way into jail, Taebel told reporters he did not pull over because “it is absolutely legal to resist arrest, with force, to the extent of taking an officers life if necessary.”
Taebel has a long criminal history, which includes charges of fighting, resisting arrest, assault and kidnapping. In some of these cases, he acted as his own counsel, defending himself in court and filing unsuccessful appeals and frivolous lawsuits against the public servants involved in his cases.
Taebel has written that the Department of Justice and Executive orders are both unconstitutional, and said the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Transit Administration and Drug Enforcement Agency don’t need to exist, saying they are “not even backed by the constitution.” He has also tried to use federal statutes to defend himself, most notably the Federal Civil Rights Statute Section 242 of Title 18, “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law,” which makes it a crime for a person “acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Taebel seems obsessed with the last line which says some offenses can be punishable by death.
Two days before the chase, Taebel cited this statute when he filed a complaint bringing a “claim against violations of the second amendment” in the U.S. District Court of California in Los Angeles. The complaint named Court Justice Michael Sonberg as a defendant and asked for $1 billion in damages.
Justice Sonberg convicted Taebel of 2nd and 3rd degree aggravated assault in May, 2013. The latter is a felony and took away Taebel’s ability to possess firearms. The charges stemmed from an incident where Taebel punched the doorman at his girlfriend’s New York apartment building for not allowing him up to her residence. At one point during the case, Taebel chose to represent himself and cross-examine the victim.
Continuing to claim self-defense, despite eye witness testimony to the contrary, Taebel has attempted to have the judgement vacated by filing frivolous lawsuits against the Department of Justice and the United States of America, among others
On April 26, 2016, the judgement against him was affirmed, but Taebel’s experience left him questioning the rule of law and refusing to follow it. It also left him fixated on the idea that police officers could be killed if his rights were violated, which he repeatedly believes has happened, even when his actions are considered criminal by law enforcements standards.
In January 2018, Taebel included Statute 242 in a civil complaint he filed against the City of Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. In it, he claimed that his rights were violated after he was arrested in April 2013 for attempting lewd and unlawful acts against an aspiring porn star in the Los Angeles valley. The woman alleged that after having a conversation with Taebel at a gas station about her possible new career, he followed her to a nearby parking lot and tried to pull her into his vehicle for the purpose of a sexual encounter. The case against him was dropped on December 5, 2016, though he remained upset to enough file the complaint two years later, ask for $1 billion in recompense, writing in it that the “arresting officer should be executed by law.”
The homepage of Taebel’s now defunct website also lists Statute 242, stating that “Executions under USC section 242 are a Necessity” and that “Opposition to Capitol [sic] punishment does not aid the welfare of society.”
After being taken into police custody in Tempe, Taebel told his arresting officers that he had legal authority to take officers’ lives if arrest attempts were made and he told the judge at his bail hearing that “…the officers can be killed under USC section 242. I just want to put that on the record, and should be, in my opinion.”
Taebel also claims he did nothing wrong, was resisting unlawful arrest “due to federal law” and did not stop because he had a “bad vibe.” “This” he said “is another perfect example of being stopped and arrested for something that I did not do, and without reasonable cause.” He also proposed that he and his victim should file a joint lawsuit against the city.
His arresting officers wrote in their report that Taebel told them “he will not obey any rules of law imposed on his freedom.” This may be hard to keep up from Maricopa County jail where he is being held on a $400,000 cash bond.