Local Cops Consider Not Showing Them Your Drivers License a "Very Real…Threat" to the People


Absurdly pants-wetting local news report from KREM Channel 2 in Washington state touching on the "sovereign citizens" movement, or "free travelers" as this story labels them.

These are people who believe, for a variety of arcane reasons, that most government authority as currently constituted is phony and does not lawfully require obedience, with a side element being that one should be free to drive a motor vehicle without being licensed by the state. (The Libertarian Party's 2004 candidate Michael Badnarik shared this belief in freedom of movement minus state-issued licenses.)

There have been instances, rare ones, in which (usually police initiated) encounters between the law and a sovereign citizen believer turn violent, but this story doesn't say anything about that.

No, it is entirely based on the alleged threat to police and public caused by people merely non-violently refusing to comply with a demand to see a license:

When a deputy tried to pull over a man in Spokane Valley near Argonne and Mission, he refused to give the deputy his name and claimed he did not need a driver's license……

In 2012, two men claiming to be sovereign citizens caused a three-hour standoff with law enforcement when they refused to get out of their truck after being pulled over. The SWAT team and even Sheriff Knezovich himself were called in, and deputies eventually had to cut their seat belts and pull them out of the vehicle.

"These can be very dangerous confrontations," Knezovich said.

It is an issue law enforcement said they are keeping a close eye on because they said the threat these people pose is a very real one.

Now, there may be some larger reason to officers to feel threatened by "sovereign citizens". Some think so. Jesse Walker reported last year on the (not very warranted, on balance) law enforcement panic over the sovereign citizen movement in a Homeland Security report. As Walker concluded:

The document declares on its first page that most sovereign citizens are nonviolent, and that it will focus only on the violent fringe within a fringe—the people it calls "sovereign citizen extremists," or SCEs. It describes their violence as "sporadic," and it does not expect its rate to rise, predicting instead that the violence will stay "at the same sporadic level" in 2015. The author or authors add that most of the violence consists of "unplanned, reactive" clashes with police officers, not preplanned attacks.

But this story doesn't even try to begin to make the case, quite literally explaining that the very act of refusing to show a drivers license or get out of one's car when ordered is a "very real….threat."

It may be to an officers' tinpot authority. But as to why any local news watching citizen should be worried about it, the case isn't really made.