Greensboro, N.C., police Detective Rob Finch has become a training expert in a phenomenon that more and more police and public officials around the country face: how to deal with self-described “sovereign citizens.” The Los Angeles Times said Finch and his partner, Det. Kory Flowers, have trained nearly 15,000 police and 5,000 public officials to combat sovereigns, zealots who refuse to recognize government authority in virtually any form.
Violent confrontations are rare, but the FBI says at least six police officers have been killed by sovereigns since 2000. A man tied to the movement shot and killed a California Highway Patrol officer who stopped him in Contra Costa County last year. A responding officer shot and killed the assailant. The agency calls sovereigns — who number between 100,000 and 300,000 — a “domestic terrorist movement.” This time of year has federal authorities on alert, since a central tenet of the sovereigns movement is that its adherents believe they owe no income taxes.