The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Hi, I’m a Sovereign Citizen! – Group to Write Letters to Police

By Ryan Lenz on January 20, 2011 - 6:20 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Sovereign Citizens

They already have alternate identification cards and travel warrants. Now, all Tim Turner thinks he needs is an introduction to police and some good old-fashioned face time for his “Republic for the United States of America” to become a reality. That, at least, seems to be the prime motivation behind a planned letter-writing campaign to contact more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide and teach them the ins-and-outs of Turner’s antigovernment movement.

“When they [law enforcement] see the identification … can you imagine the phone calls that are going to take place? They’re going to realize it’s real,” said an excited Kelby Smith, the moderator of a Jan. 12 conference call that allows Republic leaders and devotees to interact. “They’re all going to call their seniors, and the seniors are going to call the Feds, and the Feds are going to say, yeah, it’s real. The Republic is back.”

The so-called Republic, which sprang from the ranks of Turner’s Guardians of the Free Republics, is a ragtag mix of tax scofflaws who believe a form of American government that was in operation until 1860 is more legitimate than the current form. Its most central claim is the current U.S. government is a corporation, not a true union – a declaration consistent with Turner’s radical history of bombastic promises and outlandish plans.

Specifics of the letters to law enforcement were not disclosed on the Republic’s conference call, nor were the intended recipients identified. The letters have, however, been discussed previously and the Republic plans to send them in the coming weeks. In fact, the letters are not the first of their kind from Turner’s brood. Last year, the Guardians fruitlessly sent letters to all 50 governors in the United States demanding they step down – or else. That led the Southern Poverty Law Center to include Turner in a roundup of figureheads in the burgeoning subculture of “sovereign citizens.”

Turner burst onto the extremist scene four years ago with a series of very popular seminars that lured attendees with the bogus assurance they could avoid their mortgage, credit card debt and income tax bills by flooding the courts with meaningless documents. When the opposing parties didn’t respond accordingly, he urged his followers to file absurdly large retaliatory property liens against them. Turner also claims to have cured leukemia in five days.

Despite this, Turner has no known arrests, according to the Dale County Sheriff’s Department. Once thought to be in hiding, he continues to live in the tiny southeastern Alabama town of Skipperville, the department confirmed.

While law enforcement officers may disagree on how to deal with or even label this extremist subculture, the sovereign movement continues to grow. When cornered, some of them lash out in rage, frustration and, in the most extreme cases, acts of deadly violence. Such was the case last May in West Memphis, Ark., when sovereign citizens Jerry and Joseph Kane killed two police officers who had stopped them for driving a car with a phony license tag.

Nonetheless, Turner – revered as “Mr. President” in the Republic – issued a warning to his followers to avoid violent confrontations, especially in the aftermath of the recent attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, which killed six and wounded 13 others in Tucson, Ariz.

“Bad things are going on in the country,” Turner said. “We need to stay clear of those things. We want nothing to do with any kind of violence. That’s very, very important. Any of you that may be being stopped and harassed by law enforcement, always be respectful. Don’t go to violence. Don’t give these people a hard time. We want to educate them and bring them into the fold, instead of making enemies. We want to make friends.”

  • Madnez

    Hey gamechanger I agree with you about the people that are posting unresearched remarks, but remember that,that is how good they’ve been groomed to be sheep or cattle(aka.slaves). Anyways I was wondering about who can I speak to in socal to get more in depth information . I too, believe and tired of a government that lies blatantly to its people using the media and strongarming it’s people. Most of us have been indoctrinated to believe one thing. So if you could help me out . Much appreciated
    P.S. This nation was born of rebellion
    when you have stop rebelling and stand up for your GOD giving rights you have ceased to be AMERICAN!

  • gamechanger

    I love how people that are against the Soverign Movement tell others to do research when in fact they should be doing the research. You people peg the soverigns as out of there minds but infact you are the ones out of your minds. The government has been screwing us since 1933 when we let the reserve print fake money with nothing to back it. Then they created a collection agency (IRS) to collect debt from us that was based on life expectency and average work income. Now isnt it funny that the Federal Reserve and the IRS are not part of the federal government? We didnt use brith certificates untill 1933 and it wasent to keep track of the number of citizens thats what the census does so why do we need them? Oh thats right the government issues us a BC because we are used as collateral for the loans the feds gave the US and if you guys spent more time educating yourself instead of calling people crazy you would know this. Oh and another quick fact for the idiot that was talking about bill of rights and the roads. Listen asshole we have those rights and they can never be taken away even if you dont pay taxes you idiot oh and obviously you have no idea about the regan administration investagating where the tax dollars go. Well genius the anawer is that not one cent of the IRS tax dollars go to anything but the NATIONAL DEBT. All your road money and infrastructure is payed by state taxes you dumbass but it all goes back to doing research because if you guys are talking shit you should already know this

  • wtigers

    As many great points as there are uneducated mumbo jumbo. Being Sovereign has little to do with paying taxes. If you are truly interested in this subject you should do your research, and learn that mainly “Sovereign Citizens” are trying to protect their constitutional rights. That is all! Over the years the US government has slowly taken them away, and if something is not done, if the masses do not cooperate they will, in fact, take them all away. In effect making us all slaves to the company that is run by a bunch of hypocrites.

  • harleyryder1966

    well, Ive read everyone’s comments and can appreciate everyone’s views on the subject, and i can tell you that Ive never felt so free in my entire life! one thing for everyone to remember is that i’m no longer a loan number and my money goes straight to my family for food and bills instead of government waste and lending! You would be surprised how many government officials are on board now!

  • warp9p65

    I always found it interesting that these so-called “Sovereign Citizens” do not want to pay taxes, do not want to acknowledge the duly constituted authority of any bona fide government, do not believe they should be required to have driver licenses, vehicle registrations, or insurance, yet they want to make full use of all the rights and benefits that true citizens of the U.S. have. These include protections offered in the bill of rights, the use of public roadways (that they don’t think they should have to pay taxes toward), the postal service, and the list goes on and on. They’re a bunch of hypocrites and irrational loons.

  • jgt2598

    I interned at a congressman’s district office once, and let me just say that it was an unusual day when we didn’t get at least five calls from crazy people, this is even worse for the police so I doubt the police mail room would even notice a tiny fluctuation in the (undoubtedly already vast) amount of crazy conspiracy mail.

  • gbuddha2012

    At one time these guys were more dangerous to themselves than anyone else, but mc veigh showed us all how lethal one or two people could be. Frivolous liens and lawsuits can very easily turn into much more.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Oh you did “in-depth research”? Then I’m sure you won’t mind showing your sources.

  • Slim Jim

    I have done the in-depth research It takes to find the truth about our government being a corporation and yes it is. This took place in 1871 under the charter of the District Of Columbia. This put the United States subservient to European banks as a result of their “bailout” for the nation under eminent default on it’s loans. So in part, Turner has it right. So I must say us leftist should do our research before we start flapping our lips, least we may look like a bunch of uneducated lunitics.

  • La Piovra

    In a republic, the citizens jointly are “the sovereign”, and the officials they elect to enact and enforce their laws, ratify their treaties, and fill the appointive posts, are servants of this joint sovereign. A fellow who proclaims himself “THE sovereign”, not bound by the laws of the joint sovereign, is thumbing his nose at the sovereign rest of us: i.e., he thinks he is bigger than three million people. Tell the “sovereign citizens” to chew on that one!

  • IludiumPhosdex

    If you ask me, police mailroom staff can expect to deal with what is essentially “harrassment by proxy” serving only to divert staff from pressing or otherwise important cases for purely warped “sovereign citizenship” purposes.

    (As for the proxy, consider the “action alert” allowing the mailbombing to take that form.)

  • Jonas Rand

    It seems to me that “Sovereign Citizens” is more a tax-evasion-guide scam than a political movement, a way for opportunists to take advantage of people who pay for some supposed “secrets” to tax evasion. Then, after the sucker buys a few manuals at a seminar from one of these hack gurus, they will be required to pay the IRS or go to jail for this idiocy. Surely there is an element of supremacy; i.e. the black ‘sovereigns’ feel that the “Afrikan” is superior to the “White devil”, and the white ‘sovereigns’ feel that they are sovereign to the “mud people”, but this hateful rhetoric does not make them “sovereigns”.