A presentation from 2016 obtained from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services that discusses domestic extremist groups.
Sovereign Citizen (SC) activity typically involves criminal behavior that is generally non-violent but has lead to threats and plots against Court Officials by the more extremist adherents. Below are some indicators that you have encountered a SC during your normal duties and be a signal that additional precautions against fraudulent filings and personal harm be used.
This Assessment is based on an I&A review of 24 law enforcement investigations into acts and threats of sovereign citizen extremist (SCE) violence since 2010, detailing locations, targets of violence, and their statements about the violence, when available. It is intended to inform law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels about the nature and circumstances of SCE violence to help officers prepare for, anticipate, and ultimately avoid violent incidents. Most sovereign citizens are non-violent, and this assessment applies only to those that use violence to advance their goals.
An intelligence assessment released July 22 by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis warns of an increasing trend of “anti-government violence” from what are described as “domestic violent extremists” inspired by the recent standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. The report, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Government Officials an Law Enforcement,” was originally obtained and published by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit alliance of local state and federal resource professionals that has been advocating for criminal charges against Cliven Bundy and “militia snipers” involved in the April standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. In recent months, the report suggests that there has been a notable increase in violence from domestic extremists motivated by “anti-government ideologies.”
(U//LES) DHS Assessment: Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Law Enforcement and Government Officials
After years of only sporadic violence from violent domestic extremists motivated by anti-government ideologies, I&A has seen a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs. These groups and individuals recognize government authority but facilitate or engage in acts of violence due to their perception that the United States Government is tyrannical and oppressive, coupled to their belief that the government needs to be violently resisted or overthrown. Historically, spikes in violence have followed high-profile confrontations involving the United States Government, such as Ruby Ridge and Waco. The April 20 14 Bunkerville, Nevada standoff likely represents a similar event that could inspire further violence.
The FBI San Antonio Division recently reported that groups of young individuals in Texas, and possibly other states, were attempting to elicit information regarding residences of firefighters, military personnel, police officers, etc. The subjects knocked on neighborhood doors, telling residents they worked for an organization that helps young people with public speaking by sending them out to contact random people at their homes and ask about their professions. The youths reportedly received points based on the professions they located, with the potential of winning a college scholarship and a large sum of money. Police officer had the highest point value.
The anti-government sovereign citizen movement has been catapulted into the forefront of public attention due to an increase in criminal activity by sovereign citizens nationwide. The movement consists of individuals and small groups throughout the United States, guided and supported by adherents who share the core belief that Federal, state, and local governments are all illegitimate entities.
(U//LES) FBI Sovereign Citizen Extremists Targeting Law Enforcement Creates Potential for Violent Traffic Stops
The FBI assesses with medium confidence, based on reliable source reporting and reports from other law enforcement agencies, some sovereign citizen extremistsb are making more specific plans to interfere with state and local law enforcement officers during traffic stops and, in some cases, intentionally initiating contact with law enforcement. The FBI assesses with medium confidence that a shift from reacting to law enforcement scrutiny1,2 to targeting police officers indicates an increased interest in harassing and intimidating police and may lead to potentially hostile confrontations.
Sovereign citizens believe the government is operating outside of its jurisdiction and generally do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or governmental regulations. They subscribe to a number of conspiracy theories, including a prevalent theory which states the United States Government (USG) became bankrupt and began using citizens as collateral in trade agreements with foreign governments. They believe secret bank accounts exist at the United States (US) Department of the Treasury. These accounts can be accessed using Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Universal Commercial Code (UCC), and fraudulent financial documents.
So-called sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who reject the notion of U.S. citizenship. They claim to follow only God’s laws and the amendments found in the original Bill of Rights. Sovereign citizens believe they are exempt from all other responsibilities associated with being a U.S. citizen, such as paying taxes, possessing a driver’s license, registering vehicles, or holding a Social Security card. In addition, they do not generally recognize Federal or State government authority or laws. Sovereign citizen groups are known for presenting fraudulent IDs, license plates, tax-exemption cards, passports, and birth certificates, among others. Other activity includes firearms violations, redemption schemes, and documents that falsely claim diplomatic and law enforcement privileges.
(U//FOUO) According to recent FBI reporting, an identified sovereign citizen extremist group is advocating a plan to remove state governors from office. This organization authored a “Restore America Plan” that consists of a multi-step process beginning with notices issued to state governors demanding they vacate their positions within three days. As of 31 March, over 30 governors have received such notices. The plan calls for the removal of any governor who fails to comply. DHS has no specific information that this removal refers to a specific plan to use violence; however, law enforcement should be aware that this could be interpreted as a justification for violence or other criminal actions. According to the group’s plan, other steps involve establishing bogus courts, calling of “de jure” grand juries, and issuing so-called “legal orders” to gain control of the state. The plan notes that this call to action depends on the participation of identified sovereign citizens or other unidentified violent antigovernment extremists whose cooperation is not assured.