In Paper War, Flood of Liens Is the Weapon
Occasionally, people who identify with the movement have erupted into violence. In Las Vegas this week, the police said that an undercover sting operation stopped a plot to torture and kill police officers in order to bring attention to the movement. Two people were arrested. In 2010, two police officers in Arkansas were killed while conducting a traffic stop with a father and son involved in the movement.
Mostly, though, sovereign citizens choose paper as their weapon. In Gadsden, Ala., three people were arrested in July for filing liens against victims including the local district attorney and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. And in Illinois this month, a woman who, like most sovereign citizens, chose to represent herself in court, confounded a federal judge by asking him to rule on a flurry of unintelligible motions.
“I hesitate to rank your statements in order of just how bizarre they are,” the judge told the woman, who was facing charges of filing billions of dollars in false liens.
“The convergence of the evidence strongly suggests a movement that is flourishing,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League. “It is present in every single state in the country.”