Me No Need No Stinky Car Tags! Me Moorish Indigenous! Ask My Leader!
Then, there are plates like the ones on Joreal DeVante’s SUV. DeVante says he’s with the “Moorish American National Government” and he doesn’t need Tennessee tags because he’s a diplomat.
“We are Moorish-Americans, the original aboriginal people here on this continent before you Europeans arrived,” DeVante said.
DeVante says he’s not a United States citizen, even though he lives in government housing. He claims what’s attached to his vehicle isn’t a “license plate” or a “motor vehicle.”
“That’s not a tag, that’s a conveyer’s information card attached to my conveyance. And if you read that book, I have no more conversation. If you read this, you’ll learn the law,” DeVante said.
The On Your Side Investigators read the book. It states that if a car “is not registered, it’s not ‘motor vehicle’, and there are no motor vehicle statutes to break.”
The rest of the book is filled with “Common Law” arguments that seem to be copied and pasted from various Internet sites. We caught up with DeVante a second time to ask if he’d give us a better understanding of his book.
He wasn’t very cooperative, so we took the book to Judge Joe Brown.
“Have you ever heard about anything like that?” On Your Side Investigator Keli Rabon asked Judge Brown.
“No such garbage,” Judge Brown said.
Judge Brown says the book is filled with age-old arguments that don’t fly. “See this is hard-headedness. Like, ‘I don’t want any taxes; I don’t acknowledge income taxes being legal.’ Well that’s tough. So what? You’re in part of this nation and it’s, it mandates certain things whether you like it or not,” Judge Brown said.
When we showed him DeVante’s car tag, Judge Brown said it’s not legal.
“It’s just like if you got a car, took the tags off and decided to put a poster on it. What difference does it make?” Judge Brown said.
From the bench, Brown says he’s seen people just like this, and it always ends up one way.
“I locked up a lot of people that did the same thing,” Judge Brown said.
DeVante isn’t the only one doing this. Other people claiming to be Moorish-Americans have filed similar tags and paperwork.
“Please contact Honorable Noble Elihu Pleasant-Bey at the Moorish American National Government headquarters in Virginia, and he’ll answer all of your questions,” DeVante said, holding up an ID card.
We called Pleasant-Bey to hear his side of the story.
“I know quite a few Moorish-Americans in the Memphis area. That’s not one of them though. I’ve heard some things about DeVante, the name DeVante. But I don’t know him personally, no,” Pleasant-Bey said.
We also contacted the Moorish Science Temple of America, an Islamic organization that’s nearly 100 years old.
It says it’s never heard of DeVante, and his tactics hurt the image of Moorish-Americans across the country.
“There are a lot of bootleg groups out there. We call them bootleggers because what they have done is they’ve gone to the temple, got a nationality card, run out and adopted a eurocentric idea or conception, such as sovereignty, driving without a license, not paying taxes,” Chief Minister Ra Saadi El said.
Saadi El says anyone who follows DeVante or his book may be surprised when the law is not on their side.
“It’s fictitious. If you look at their stuff, they have 50,000 different entitlements of law, this quote, that quote, but not the law itself,” Saadi El said.
Steve Bierbrodt says the law is simple: Tennessee drivers have to have a Tennessee tag.
“It’s taking revenue away from the State of Tennessee. It is illegal, because they’ve got a vehicle that’s not registered with the state. It’s untraceable basically,” Bierbrodt said.
But because DeVante doesn’t believe in any of this, odds are, he’ll be driving his “conveyance” anywhere he wants.