Watch: Police Mitigate ‘Sovereign Citizens’ Exempting Themselves from U.S. Laws

Watch: Police Mitigate ‘Sovereign Citizens’ Exempting Themselves from U.S. Laws

By Stephen Owsinski

Deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida encountered a few “sovereign citizens” stemming from a traffic stop for displaying a license plate that was self-manufactured and self-proclaiming non-participation in the laws, rules, and regulations we acknowledge in American society.

So, what is a sovereign citizen, and what is their premise? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sovereign citizen is:

  1. a member of a political movement of people who oppose taxation, question the legitimacy of government, and believe that they are not subject to the law: “Sovereign citizens may not respect cops’ authority”

Per Court Cam, sovereign citizens also refer to themselves as “American Nationals” or, based on gender, “The living man” or “The living woman.”

From the I Am a True Citizen site: “The sovereign citizen movement (also SovCit movement or SovCits) is a loose group of litigants, anti-government activists, tax protesters, financial scammers, and conspiracy theorists based mainly in the United States. Sovereign citizens have their own pseudo-legal belief system based on misinterpretations of common law and claim to not be subject to any government statutes unless they consent to them.”

In short, sovereign citizens are deniers of the U.S. Constitution and feel it is their right to go their way.

How convenient, to do your own thing (laws be damned) and inform United States law enforcement officers that they have no business righting wrongs stipulated by statutes, written by legislators, where these freelancers may reside and work…using taxpayer-funded roadways, navigating with zero accountability.

How do law-enforcing troopers, deputies, and police officers handle such a demographic whose members partake in society while negating our nation’s laws? Volusia County deputies provide a classic example to answer the question. Watch…

What you just viewed reminds me of police academy training given to law enforcement cadets. During days of navigating the myriad dynamics involved in traffic stops, lead instructors set it up whereby “actors” (other sworn LEOs on the team of teachers) intentionally throw tantrums, become unruly, disobedient, standoffish, adverse to instruction, and overall turn up the heat/volatility for the recruits who are responsible to process all the brouhaha, predominate of which is officer safety.

Having said that, referring back to our footage posted above, the primary investigating deputy who made the stop on a sovereign citizen’s automobile maintained composure and confidence, indicating he was determined to flush the charade of the driver whose stance demonstrated indignance and unwillingness to cooperate/comply with rules with which we are all subject to adhering.

Take note of the conversation the lead deputy was having in his cruiser before he exited and walked up to investigate the oddball license plate.

I heard him ask his passenger, a seeming new deputy in training mode if she knew what it means when observing a US flag turned upside-down, explaining that it signals a “sign of distress.”

Similar to the street-roaming antagonists who seek out law enforcement officers and poke their noses (and cell phone cameras) in police activity, sovereign citizens unfailingly pose contentious encounters with cops. Hence the lead deputy requested a backup unit before getting out of his car.

Sure enough, the game was on once he arrived at the driver’s window. From there, it was cat-and-mouse 101.

The sworn stars won and put the charade to bed (jail). Following is a redress provided by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO):

“Attention sovereign citizens: In Florida, the law is real, and deputies really will enforce it.

“On Saturday, [November 11, 2023], deputies pulled over one vehicle with a sovereign citizen tag and were soon confronted by another.

“Detry Wogerman (DOB 3/23/1965) was arrested on charges of driving an unregistered motor vehicle, driving with a suspended/revoked license (habitual), and resisting an officer without violence.” In Florida, “Habitual Traffic Offender” (HTO) status is an automatic arrest and traffic citation.

The VCSO public information officer continued: “Laralynne Nabozny (DOB 4/28/1980) was arrested on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence.”

That is how their cookie crumbled. One can imagine the potential sovereign citizen reboot once the two independents arrived at the county jail for the booking process, likely non-compliant since that is their characteristic behavior.

Sovereign citizen or not, anyone arrested for any reason who subsequently acts up at county jail typically gets checked immediately by detention deputies—there is no litany of warnings. Jailers know that one bad actor’s behavior negatively influences other bad actors to join criminal cohorts’ volatility, which endangers everyone in the facility’s Booking section.

The more volatile arrestees ordinarily get seated and fastened in a resin-based, low-to-the-ground chair with straps and buckles designed to restrain unruliness. Albeit depicting a serene scene enacted by Indian River County Sheriff’s Office detention deputies, instructing attendees at their Citizens Police Academy, this is what it looks like:

(Photo courtesy of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.)

As referenced above, others in jail waiting to be booked get to witness the results of poor attitudes (the occupied restraint chairs are positioned in plain view, serving as an example for others who may have ideations of acting the clown).

Is the restraint chair effective enough? With newfound bodily limitations, some guests at the sheriff’s office jail resort to spitting on deputies. The remedy for that ridiculous behavior is a spit sock (portrayed in the photo above).

Albeit sparingly back in the day, Patrol officers are also provided supplies of spit socks, since arrestees, especially nasty drunks, do not offer olive branches but, instead, try their aim at spitting on LEOs and other first responders—anyone on scene and in a uniform.

“They’re an effective tool,” said former Rockford, Illinois, police chief Chet Epperson, who in the 1990s pioneered policy for his officers’ proper use of the hoods. “You can spit all day, and the spit generally isn’t going to project out.”

The one time I did not have a spit sock in my arsenal of equipment, I had a spitter who drank all the vodka in the village and was arrested for domestic battery on his wife and child.

Seated in the rear compartment of the police cruiser, he leaned forward and started to launch saliva missiles through the semi-exposed iron grating separating arrestees in the back from cops up front. Riding solo, my duty bag was, perched and belted in the front passenger seat…became disgustingly decorated.

I couldn’t completely close off all airflow to the party in the back, so I covered half of the opening with a clipboard, turned my in-car camera around to record the remainder of the 16-mile trip to  county jail and made extensive notes of the self-dehydrating behavior (always considering potential trial testimony; providing juries footage to illustrate words).

So, there’s that ugly side of policing. And that was years ago. Imagine how cops are grossly mistreated today, thanks to the anti-police waft still circulating otherwise fresh air.  

Circling back to our sovereign citizens’ arrests, I suspect each of the two arrestees will attempt to shirk any bona fide court of law and exercise self-proclaimed exemptions from any federal or state laws and/or local ordinances.

In conclusion, the administrators at Police Legal Sciences cite the “growing threat of sovereign citizen groups” and that “sovereign citizen groups are emerging as a rising concern. While many encounters can seem routine, dealing with a sovereign citizen is a different challenge,” offering online training for all law enforcement officers.

I’m thinking the Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies can be guest speakers, offering ideal information on how to mitigate the demographic.