Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PunditFact: Is Ted Nugent a cop? No

Searching among various law enforcement agencies, no evidence can be found to back rock musician Ted Nugent’s claim of going on raids.

DIRK SHADD | Times (2012)

Searching among various law enforcement agencies, no evidence can be found to back rock musician Ted Nugent’s claim of going on raids.

Ted Nugent is best known as a rock musician, a bow hunter and an ardent supporter of gun rights. But his recent description of President Barack Obama as a "subhuman mongrel" eclipses all of that, especially at a time when he has campaigned on behalf of a Texas Republican candidate for governor. Those words are rooted in Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda and the writings of white supremacists.

The uproar drew a terse apology from the singer, but in an interview last week with CNN's Erin Burnett, he insisted that he had not drawn on the rhetoric of racist literature. At least for the word "mongrel," Nugent said the word was used in his time in law enforcement.

"I've been a cop in Lake County, Michigan, since 1982 thereabout. I conduct federal raids with the DEA and ATF and U.S. Marshals and the FBI and Texas Rangers and heroes of law enforcement.

"And we are re-arresting fugitive felons let out of their cages after murdering and raping and molesting children, carjacking. And we keep going after these guys.

"The adrenaline is something like you will never experience, I hope you never have to experience it, but when we are done with these kinds of raids, we get together and our hearts are broken that we have to face these monsters. We call them mongrels. We call bad people who are destroying our neighborhoods mongrels."

Is Nugent a cop? Does he "conduct federal raids with the DEA and ATF and U.S. Marshals and the FBI and Texas Rangers?"

Lake County, Mich., is located about 90 miles north of Grand Rapids. It has about 11,500 residents and describes itself as "an outdoor recreation paradise."

Nugent is a reservist for the county Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Robert Hilts told us. But, "He's never joined us for any raids. Fortunately, we don't have those sorts of problems up here."

Hilts said Nugent has no authority or official responsibilities. The only activity involving Nugent that Hilts could recall was raising money on behalf of the department and for a local boy who has cystic fibrosis.

"We're always searching the woods for a hunter that's lost or hurt," Hilts said. "He helped us buy a four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicle so we could reach people faster."

So Nugent does not seem to be a cop in the way most people would understand that word. The picture was about the same for the federal agencies Nugent named.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) told us, "We are not aware of him conducting any raids with us."

We asked the Texas Department of Public Safety on what occasions Nugent had joined Texas Rangers on raids. Press secretary Tom Vinger said, "In regards to your question about the Texas Rangers, that did not occur."

Joe Moses, a 22-year veteran special agent at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told us they have no record or recollection of Nugent participating in any of their operations. However, when there are special projects that involve many federal, state and local agencies, they wouldn't necessarily know the name of everyone who showed up.

At the same time, Moses said there are strict standards for who is involved in an actual raid.

"You would not have someone who didn't hold the status of a police officer or federal agent participate in such an operation," Moses said. The process of arresting a person or collecting evidence must withstand challenge in a courtroom. It is not a place for the inexperienced, Moses told us.

The FBI said it could neither confirm nor deny Nugent's participation in a raid.

When we reached out to Nugent, an assistant did not provide evidence that Nugent participated in raids with the FBI, the DEA or the ATF.

Instead, Nugent's assistant Linda Peterson wrote, "Ted has been active in the following: U.S. Marshal Service FALCON fugitive task force arrest raids in Texas."

That's not quite what it sounds like, either. Nugent and a film crew "went on a ride-along with a U.S. Marshals-led task force in Waco, Texas, in 2005," agency spokesman Dave Oney said. Oney believes they were shooting footage for Nugent's television show Spirit of the Wild.

With the U.S. Marshals, observers work under clear limits.

"They cannot go with us into private residences," Oney said. "So, he would have had to remain in the vehicle or on the sidewalk or some other public area."

That ride-along took place about nine years ago. No law enforcement agency told us that Nugent has any current role in their efforts to apprehend felons.

We did find Nugent's description of being at an FBI handgun training facility built around video simulations. The article is undated, but in it Nugent wrote he had recently taken part in Operation FALCON with the U.S. Marshals.

Nugent found the training experience very realistic. "Let me tell you, when the room goes dark and the video begins to roll, you become so totally engulfed in the scenario that you are 100 percent psychologically living the event as if it is real life," he wrote. "It is no longer a video as far as your mind tells you."

It is possible this may have shaped his recollections.

Nugent may have been passionate but his words take him far beyond the facts. We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

Read more rulings at PunditFact.com.

The statement

"I've been a cop in Lake County, Michigan, since 1982 thereabout. I conduct federal raids with the DEA and ATF and U.S. Marshals and the FBI and Texas Rangers."

Ted Nugent, Feb. 24 on CNN

The ruling

PunditFact ruling: Pants on Fire
The single piece of this narrative that Nugent confirmed is one ride-along with U.S. Marshals in 2005. He is not a cop in Michigan by any conventional meaning of the word. No agency said that he presently plays any role in any of their raids. We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

PunditFact: Is Ted Nugent a cop? No 03/01/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 1, 2014 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way

    Blogs

    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

  2. Tampa murder suspect told police he wanted to stop neo-Nazi roommates from committing acts of domestic terrorism

    Criminal

    TAMPA — After he admitted to shooting two roommates and led police to their dead bodies, Devon Arthurs said he committed the killings to prevent the pair from carrying out terrorist acts, according to a new court filing.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report.
[Tampa Police]
  3. Pinellas School Board approves plan that aims to close achievement gap

    K12

    After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that aims to tackle the achievement gap in 10 years and settles a long-running lawsuit over the education of …

    "I'm an optimist. I think this is going to work," Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner said Tuesday after the board was presented with a plan that aims to settle a long-running lawsuit over the education of black students and close the achievement gap. The board voted 7-0 to approve the plan. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. With big concerts approaching, Tampa Bay venues remain vigilant after Manchester attack

    Public Safety

    In the aftermath of an explosion that killed at least 22 people — including children — moments after a pop concert ended in England on Monday night, local venues are assuring the public that security will continue to be tight at the Tampa Bay area's upcoming big-ticket shows.

    Fans cross Himes Avenue in Tampa toward Raymond James Stadium before the start of Beyonce's Formation World Tour in Tampa on April 29, 2016. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  5. Kahwa Coffee to open second drive-thru store in St. Petersburg

    Retail

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.

    Kahwa Coffee will open its 12th location and fourth with a drive-thru in a former "farm store" in St. Petersburg.
[Times file photo]