BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A white supremacist who was arrested on charges of terrorizing a small North Dakota town that he wants to take over has been refusing food.
Monday was the fourth day that Craig Cobb refused to eat at the Mercer County Jail in Stanton, where he was being held without bail, prosecutor Todd Schwarz said. Cobb has not given authorities any indication why he is refusing to eat. Officials are monitoring him and have made no decision on how to proceed.
“He’s in no medical distress, and he hasn’t been causing any troubles,” Schwarz said.
Cobb, who is taking water, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from jail that he is not on a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment — though he does feel he is wrongly accused — but is instead practicing mahasamadhi, a form of spiritual enlightenment in which the physical body is permanently left behind. Cobb said that will happen for him at yuletide, another term for Christmas.
Cobb would not go so far as to say he plans to die.
“This is not the only realm, or plane of existence,” he said.
Cobb said he decided on his course of action to raise awareness that “any nascent white movement will be crushed.” He also said he considers himself a martyr.
Cobb, 62, who is wanted in Canada on a hate crime charge, moved to Leith about 1½ years ago, bought land and a house, and encouraged others with similar views to join him and turn the tiny town into an Aryan enclave. He has clashed with locals who want him to leave, and is accused of terrorizing residents with guns earlier this month.
Cobb maintains he was patrolling the town because of violence and harassment directed at him. He said he feels the court system is corrupt.
“Better I go to mahasamadhi,” he said.
Cobb faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. His court-appointed public defender, Blake Hankey, did not immediately return a telephone call to the AP seeking comment.
Schwarz said authorities will not take any action unless Cobb’s health becomes endangered.
“To a certain degree, if he wants to starve himself, he can,” Schwarz said.
Cobb is due back in court Dec. 9.
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