Two Dispute Court’s Authority

A man formerly known as Keen Rodney said last Thursday that he was innocent of the charge that he was driving a taxi in Montauk in June without permission from the company’s owner. T.E. McMorrow

His first name is Keen and his last name is Rodney, according to the East Hampton Town Police Department. Not so, he told Justice Steven Tekulsky at his arraignment last Thursday; his true name is Akeem Umer Bey Rodney, and he is a Free Moorish American national of the North American Empire.

He had been in court to face several charges two weeks before, on July 19, but told Justice Tekulsky then that he did not recognize its jurisdiction over him. “A Moor cannot be brought up on false charges here,” he wrote in a letter to the court, referencing what he called the “Zodiac Constitution.” He also was unhappy with the Legal Aid Society lawyer on hand that day. Justice Tekulsky adjourned that arraignment to last Thursday.

Mr. Rodney, who gave police a South Carolina address, was arrested June 30 on Montauk Main Street and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, a taxi belonging to J’s Taxi Company. He claimed he had permission to use the 2009 Dodge minivan, though the owner of the company disputed that. Police said he did not have a town taxi license posted, and that his driver’s license was not an E class, required for cabdrivers. He was released after posting $700 bail at headquarters.

In court for the second time last Thursday, he found that day’s Legal Aid attorney, Matt D’Amato, more to his liking. Mr. Rodney took a small stand with three flags on it to the defense table. In the middle was an American flag, flanked on either side by the flag of Morocco.

The arraignment was uneventful. Justice Tekulsky set Sept. 19 for Mr. Rodney’s return to court. Mr. Rodney has since sent The Star a series of images and video that he said would prove his innocence.

Stalenyn P. Diaz, 26, of Montauk, has been in the county jail since July 28, when he was arrested for the second time in 24 hours and the third time since June. According to town police, who received an early-morning complaint over the phone, Mr. Diaz was standing in the middle of Navy Road near Navy Beach restaurant, disrupting traffic. When officers approached, he reportedly said, “I am part of the treaty of 1786. What jurisdiction do you have?” and began shouting obscenities.

The day before, he had been arrested outside the Grey Lady restaurant by the Montauk docks and charged with possession of a methamphetamine compound known on the street as Molly, or Ecstasy. After that arrest, Justice Rana set bail at $1,000, which was posted.

Standing before her the following day, this time charged with disorderly conduct, he refused to face the bench, and cursed during the arraignment, court observers said. Bail was set at $1,500. Unable to post that amount, Mr. Diaz remained in custody as of yesterday morning.