From serious to hilarious: Video of a sovereign citizen has it all

Beyond the pure comedic value of the smug activist being TASERed, we have got some really good topics for discussion

Court officers in Kootenai County, Idaho, have been made somewhat famous by 21-year-old Robert Peterson.

When I first watched this video, I didn’t know how it would end. So as I watched, I made note of some fairly serious issues as they unfolded. Perhaps you may want to do the same.

Warning: don’t go sipping your soda unless you have paper towels nearby. This video gets really, really good. You watch, and let’s hammer this thing home below. 

Let’s Go to the Videotape
I know, hilarious. I burst out laughing so loudly and so suddenly that I think I may have scared the living daylights out of any number of nearby colleagues. Truly, this is one of the best videos I’ve seen in long, long time. 

Beyond the pure comedic value here, we’ve got some really good topics for discussion. 

First and foremost, let’s have a round of applause for the solid professionalism of all those court officers!

The response of all the officers involved was outstanding. The subject was intentionally and purposefully antagonizing but not one of those officers took the bait, totally thwarting the young man’s effort to make them look “bad.”

Well done, everyone. From start to finish these officers were truly top-notch, and they all deserve great praise.

Okay then, what else do we have? What does this guy’s language tell you? What is this guy saying about himself every time he opens his face hole?

The encounter began with something not too out of the ordinary — a suspect refusing to give a full real name.

Our subject — a sovereign citizen named “Robert” (last name Peterson) — had shown up to his court appearance with a video camera. Although a press permit is required under Idaho state code in order to record proceedings, Peterson refused to shut off his camera. Officers refuse entry. 

Almost immediately in the video, “Robert” began using language that had my alarm bells ringing. Watch out for phrases like:

“I’m not a person. You deal here with Admiralty Maritime Jurisdiction which deals with persons, which I am not. ...I’m a man.”

“I don’t wish to create joinder with you.”

“I don’t know what the hell law book you’re reading man, but it doesn’t apply to me.”

“You are not God. You have no jurisdiction over me.” 

The clip closes with Peterson trying to barge through the officers blocking the entryway. I have no idea what that officer had run though his head as he deployed that TASER, but if it was me it would be something like, “You’re right, I’m not. And you’re wrong, I do.”  

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

  1. Tags
  2. Courthouse Security
  3. Police Trainers
  4. Less Lethal
  5. Patrol Issues

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Patrol Video

Sponsored by


logo for print