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Sovereign Citizen Fatally Shot in Encounter with Michigan Police

Michigan State Police fatally shot a man who claimed to be an antigovernment “sovereign citizen” late last week after he sped away from a traffic stop, authorities report.

The victim was identified as Richard Parent, 37, of Flat Rock, Mich.

The incident appears to be the latest example in a growing list of encounters in the United States –– many of them deadly –– between police and sovereign citizens who believe they don’t have to follow state and federal laws.

In the most recent incident, state police attempted to stop Parent’s pickup truck shortly before 1 p.m. on Friday in Taylor, Mich., after suspecting he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, state police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said.

Parent refused to identify himself or provide a driver’s license, “claiming to be a ‘sovereign citizen’ when troopers initially stopped him,” and other Michigan media reported.

When he refused orders to step out of his vehicle, police smashed a rear window in a failed attempt to remove Parent from the vehicle. At that point, Parent sped away in his truck, driving through a residential neighborhood in a chase that eventually moved to Interstate 94.

As they chased the suspect’s car, state police caused his vehicle spin out, Shaw said, and Parent jumped from his truck and ran to a nearby tree line where he assumed a shooting stance, armed with a 9mm Glock handgun, Shaw said.

It’s unknown if Parent fired on officers before he was shot by state police, according to various media accounts. He later died at an area hospital. 

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