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onvicted tax protester Ed Brown is trying to ramp up tensions with the police through a series of threats against local law enforcement officials, the Sullivan County Attorney's office said in a statement yesterday.
The statement came after Brown said his supporters would retaliate against Plainfield Police Chief Gordon Gillens and Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Prozzo if he or his wife are harmed by authorities. Brown's comments were first reported in the New Hampshire Union Leader yesterday.
Ed and Elaine Brown were sentenced to five years in prison in April on charges stemming from their refusal to pay federal income taxes on about $1.9 million earned since 1996. The couple says there is no law requiring them or most other Americans to pay income tax to the U.S. government. They have been holed up at their Plainfield home for close to seven months, vowing to violently resist any efforts to arrest them.
"Law enforcement views Edward Brown's most recent threats as a continuation of his efforts to rally support to his failing cause," the statement from the Sullivan County Attorney's Office said.
In an interview yesterday at his home, Brown said he had not threatened anybody. He characterized his statements as justified under New Hampshire state law governing the use of deadly force, saying that the police were intent on killing him.
"It's lawful to warn, unlawful to threaten," Brown said. "If they kill me or my wife, or capture me or my wife, we will do the same to (them). We are reciprocal people. If you kill me, I'll kill you. If you hit me, I'll hit you. I'm not going to turn the other cheek."
Brown said that he was not personally aware of specific plans to attack either Gillens or Prozzo, but that supporters of his cause had told him any action against the couple would be avenged. He said the locations of Gillens' and Prozzo's homes were being shared among those supporters.