The "sovereign citizen" movement is a grifty, anti-Semitic/white-nationalist-adjacent cult whose conspiratorial beliefs include a bunch of reasons that neither law enforcement nor courts have jurisdiction over them, and also that the federal government is not allowed to own land (this being the rubric for the Cliven Bundy terrorists' seizure of the Malheur Oregon Wildlife Refuge.
When cops try to arrest "sovereign citizens," the arrestees flee, threaten violence, enact violence, even pull guns on the cops ("sovereign citizens" are also confirmed musketfuckers, with massive personal arsenals). When "sovereign citizens" are dragged into court, the given irrelevant conspiratorial speeches about the court's illegitimacy, the illegality of gold tassles on flags, and so on.
This poses a problem for the cops and the courts, because this is a movement of overwhelmingly white people, and when white people are violent and disruptive, cops somehow manage not to murder them or simply lock them up indefinitely. Court appointed defense attorneys wish they'd stop giving judge-enraging speeches, and cops are leery of murdering them. Some cops are getting special advice to allow them to engage with "sovereign citizens" without murdering them. By contrast, racialized kids get special high school classes in how not to get murdered by cops.
Dr. John Hamilton — a retired Kansas City, Missouri, police officer and Park University professor — said officers need to be familiar with the group or things can turn ugly.
"You don't know what you are dealing with either." said Hamilton, who teaches criminal justice at Park. "You don't know if someone who really is well-versed on all the laws that they read, the federal laws, that say they are empowered to do that. Then, some don't know those kind of things, but just decide that is sounds like something interesting to do."
Law enforcement, courts wrestle with sovereign citizen movement [Jordan Betts/KSHB]