MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The 'Sovereign Citizen' group is again creating waves in the Memphis area. Just this week a self-proclaimed member of the group was charged with trying to run over two police officers. Sovereign Citizens are now well known here because two members murdered two West Memphis police officers two years ago.
For most of us, flashing blue lights are a symbol of security, a sign of people trying to keep the peace. To the Sovereign Nation, authority figures can represent oppression. Sovereign Citizens think the government has gone too far, that their rights are being violated on a daily basis. According to Supervisory Special Agent David Brasanini of the FBI, they are “different people from all walks of life who believe as U.S. citizens they do not have to abide by the law or the Constitution, which was set and established by this country.”
The FBI knows about Sovereign Citizens. They wouldn’t talk about any specific cases with us. They did say people are allowed to believe anything they want. No laws are broken there. When they start to break the law is when they get involved. This brings us to May 2010, and West Memphis, Arkansas.
It’s a day that’s impossible to forget, especially if you’re a cop. Jerry and Joseph Kane, a father and son with a relationship forged by hate and violence, had been traveling across the country. They were pulled over by West Memphis Police Officers Bob Evans and Brandon Paudert on a routine traffic stop. The Kanes decided to show their displeasure with the United States and its authority by murdering both men, leaving their bodies on the side of the road.
Brasanini says that’s not how all Sovereign’s act. “They’ll file liens. They’ll file false claims against individuals such as judges and cops because they feel these are the folks who represent the U.S. who they don’t believe are doing the right thing.”
The FBI does update local police departments with news about the Sovereign Citizens, and a lot of other groups. Former West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert does the most work, traveling around the country talking about the West Memphis murders. One of those two officers murdered in West Memphis was his son.