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'The Image, Deconstructed' spotlights photographer Alan Spearman

Alan Spearman / The Commercial Appeal

A suspect later identified by Arkansas police as Joseph T. Kane lies dead as West Memphis Arkansas Police investigate the scene of a shootout in the parking lot of the West Memphis WalMart, May 20, 2010, after Crittenden County Sheriff Deputies cornered suspects from a previous Police shooting on I-40. West Memphis Police Officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were shot and killed after a shootout on Interstate 40 in West Memphis today. The suspect van was later cornered in a Walmart parking lot in West Memphis where a shootout occurred. Crittenden County sheriff Dick Busby was shot, as was his chief of patrol, W.A. Wren. As of 2 p.m., both were being rushed into surgery after being airlifted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. The bodies of the younger Kane and his father, Jerry R. Kane Jr., 45, of Forest, Ohio, were pulled from a van at the Walmart.

Excerpted from The Image, Deconstructed:

Photographer Alan Spearman:

It was an unexpected day that's for sure. A father and son, the Kanes, were traveling the country giving anti-authority seminars. They considered themselves to be sovereign citizens. Jerry Kane held seminars on the belief that corporations had taken over the government and replaced constitutional law with commercial law. But by filing the correct paperwork, he thought, people could opt out of what he saw as commercial contracts disguised as laws. For example, he believed he could drive a car without a license; that he could simply decline to do business with any law enforcement agency that tried to charge him with a crime or give him a citation.

They got pulled over in West Memphis, Arkansas. The father did not want to give a proper driver’s license to the police and something just snapped in his son. They traveled with several guns including an AK47 and Joe Kane, who was 16 years-old, got out and shot the officers. He killed both on the spot.

The Kanes left the scene, then a few hours later a massive shootout took place in a Wal-Mart parking lot where two more officers were wounded by Jerry and Joe Kane. At this point law enforcement from all over descended on the scene and numerous cops exchanged fire with the Kanes. Finally, a wildlife officer rammed his truck into the Kane’s van while he simultaneously fired rounds into the Kanes. Shortly after this I arrived on the scene.

Learn more about Alan Spearman, the challenges he faced with this situation and the reason why The Commercial Appeal ran the picture.