Man sues over arrest in gunpowder case

May 11, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF

Lovell "Artie" Wheeler, the alleged white supremacist who was arrested last year for stockpiling gunpowder in his Southeast Baltimore home, filed a $100 million federal lawsuit yesterday against the federal law enforcement agencies and Baltimore Police Department that he says held him as a "political prisoner."

In a complaint they prepared themselves, Wheeler and his wife, Elizabeth Wheeler, 73, said authorities violated their constitutional rights and targeted them because of their views.

"They made a big to-do about so-called hate literature in my house," Lovell Wheeler said.

Lovell Wheeler, 61, was arrested July 1 after detectives and federal agents searched his house and found about 80 pounds of improperly stored gunpowder, hundreds of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

The Wheelers said police forced their way into the Wheelers' South East Avenue home without a search warrant and violated Lovell Wheeler's right to a speedy trial.

Wheeler spent four months in jail before pleading guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to reckless endangerment. He was given a suspended sentence and three years of probation.

The Baltimore Police Department does not comment on pending cases, a police spokesman said. The FBI also declined to comment.

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