What do you think about the 'sovereign citizen' movement?
A question posted recently on Quora asked, “For those in law enforcement, what are your thoughts on the sovereign citizen movement?” Tim Dees, a PoliceOne columnist and retired police officer gave his opinion on the topic, below. Check it out and add your own thoughts in the comments.
Obviously, I can't speak for the entire law enforcement community, but everything I know and read indicates they are at best a nuisance of uninformed hicks, and at worst domestic terrorists.
So-called sovereign citizens have generally bought into a series of crackpot essays and seminars on constitutional law that advocate the illegal nature and illegitimacy of income taxes. Most law enforcement officials, vehicle registration and licensing laws, and other laws and government practices they mostly find to be inconvenient.
They will make their own vehicle license plates out of cardboard, refuse to stop when cops try and pull them over, and sometimes deny having a name. One example is this video, taken by the "sovereign citizen" himself, as he tries his pseudo-law on some courthouse security officers. I believe this took place in Idaho:
Another activist-produced traffic stop (this one Canadian) can be found here: A bizarre traffic stop you must see (Part 1).
"Sovereign citizens" have confronted law enforcement officers with deadly force and have been responsible for several line-of-duty deaths. Most cops approach these people with great trepidation, as they're unpredictable and sometimes dangerous.
- Police Community