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Florida ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Killed After Allegedly Threatening Police

By Bill Morlin on March 14, 2013 - 1:55 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens

An armed “sovereign citizen,” accused of printing his own currency and defying government authority, was shot and killed in Florida last weekend after a four-hour standoff with a police SWAT team.

Like so many law enforcement encounters with sovereign citizens, the case involving Jeffrey Allen Wright began with a routine traffic stop before quickly escalating. Wright attempted to pay his traffic fine with counterfeit money, then refused to acknowledge courts had jurisdiction over him when additional charges were filed against him.

When Santa Rosa County sheriff’s deputies and other officers went to Wright’s home in Navarre, Fla., last Friday night to arrest him on counterfeiting charges, the 55-year-old man barricaded himself in the residence and fired a shot, apparently from an automatic firearm, officials said.

Ordered by deputies to come out unarmed, Wright responded, “Come and get me,” according to a press release from the Santa Rose County Sheriff’s Office.

When SWAT team members fired tear gas into the second story of the home’s attached garage, Wright began breaking out windows with a handgun, the release said. Moments later, when SWAT officers entered the home, they found Wright sitting at the top of a stairwell. The department’s press release said that Wright raised his pistol and pointed it directly at the SWAT members. Three officers simultaneously shot Wright, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officers involved were Sgt. Nathan Hall, Deputy Brian Miller and Detective Jerry Nash., the Daily News in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., reported. The officers, who weren’t injured, were placed on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the shooting.

During the standoff, Wright made several threats, saying at one point that deputies better not come up the stairs or they would “not come back down,” and adding that if deputies “ever want to see your families again, back down,” the newspaper reported.

Wright also boasted during the standoff that he was “would not be a servant of the king” because he was not a citizen of this country. That kind of language is typical of so-called sovereign citizens, who believe they are not subject to most federal tax and criminal laws. Such people are also known for creating fraudulent documents and negotiable instruments.

Court documents say that on five occasions Wright attempted to pay for his traffic citations and criminal charges issued by using fraudulent money orders valid for $15 million.

Extremists from the antigovernment “sovereign citizen” movement are known for their frequent run-ins with police, often because they have invalid driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations. Most sovereigns don’t believe the government has any right to regulate driving in this country.

Since 2000, six law enforcement officers in the United States have been killed by “sovereign citizens.”

Two West Memphis, Ark., officers were killed by a father-son team of sovereigns during a traffic stop in May 2010. Last August, near New Orleans, two antigovernment “sovereign citizens” were responsible for fatally shooting two sheriff’s deputies and the wounding of two others. And then, last October in Memphis, Tenn., a woman claiming to be a sovereign citizen was arrested after she refused to exit her vehicle during a traffic stop and drove away, hitting two Memphis officers in the process.

In 2011, the FBI issued a report saying the loose network of sovereign citizens comprise the greatest domestic terrorism threat in the United States.

  • Art

    Deputy Brian Miller must be the same “man” who killed a family dog in cold blood back in June 2011.

  • Tammy Toole

    Amendment 14 states: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Driving is a Privilege, and enforcing unconstitutional laws is a CRIME! We as Sovereigns do not feel superior to law, we simply believe that law must be followed and insist on enforcing our rights, according to the United States Constitution!

  • Kiwiwriter

    “Steve said,

    on March 14th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    The guy just wanted to be left alone, so for that the cops stom his house and kill him. typical.”

    Steve, maybe you should actually READ the story before you comment on it.

    The cops came to arrest him on counterfeiting charges, which is a major federal offense, and he barricaded himself in his home, aiming firearms, daring the cops to come and get him, and shot at them.

    Even when you set up your racialist utopia, where all the citizens have blonde hair, rippling muscles, big shoulders, and bigger husbands, I suspect it will be illegal for citizens and the “guest workers” you’ll have to bring in to do anything that requires a college education to do, will not be allowed to drive over the speed limit, counterfeit currency, use that counterfeit currency to pay tickets, taxes, and fines, and not be allowed to fire their weapons at police officers.

    That kind of behavior is pretty much illegal in all nation-states, regardless of their ideology or ethnicity, so even in the “Republic of Steve,” it’ll be illegal, too. I’m sure that when you’re “Pontifex Maximus” of the “Republic of Steve,” you’ll be pretty annoyed when someone pays a speeding ticket with counterfeit money, and send the cops after them.

    But, tell you what…do set up that “Republic of Steve,” and tell us how it goes.

  • concernedcitizen

    I agree with Carl, my response to Steve’s comments are the similar.

    You don’t create counterfeit money and spend it around town if you want to be left alone. You don’t threaten the lives of officers families if you want to be left alone.

    It sounds to me that this man wanted anything but to be left alone. He just wanted to start a war.

  • David

    One down, a few tens of thousands to go. These people are truly dangerous.

  • Erika

    it looks like my attempt to preempt the Steves of the world wasn’t successful.

    And CoralSea, you are obviously right in noting the similarities between the bankers and the nutters, but remember the old saying (moderernized by me) that if you steal $100 you go to jail, if you steal $1000 you go to prison, if you steal $1,000,000 you go to the state legislature, if you steal $10,000,000 you go to the House, if you steal $100,000,000 you go to the Senate, and if you steal $1,000,000,000 you own the Congressmen, the Senators, and the President.

    The sovereign citizens just don’t understand that they aren’t members of the right club.

  • Carl

    @Steve – He just wanted to be left alone? Law enforcement officers go to his home with an arrest warrant, he fires shots, threatens the officers by pointing a weapon at them – and it’s just a matter of him wanting to be left alone?


  • CoralSea

    These folks are armed loons and they definitely pose a threat to others. However, when I read this part of the post: “sovereign citizens, who believe they are not subject to most federal tax and criminal laws,” I couldn’t help flashing on the big banks in this country and the fact that their leaders lie to Congress with impunity and other Wall Street banksters who steal, also with impunity. Clearly, they aren’t playing by the rules, but because they aren’t unshaven, antisocial, and toting guns that they are all too willing to point at law enforcement officers, they get a pass.

    Not to give the sovereign citizens an excuse — and I agree with Reynardine and several other posters that they are mentally ill — but one has to wonder (or I wonder, at least) if their increasing numbers has at least something to do with a mirroring of the atrocious and un-citizenlike behavior of some of the greats in banking and on Wall Street. I have often marveled at the fact that, in America, the vast majority of people pay their taxes. This is not the case in a lot of other countries, which have been so emersed in corruption that cynicism rules, as does cheating on taxes. This is one of the things that has worried me about the “banking crisis” and the various Wall Street cheats, none of whom end up in jail or even lose their (looted) money. Perhaps the sovereigns — or at least some of them — are a coo-coo-bananas reflection of the malaise so triumphantly displayed by some of the U.S.’s major institutions?

  • Tobias A. Weissman

    Thank you for educating me to the meaning of “Sovereign Citizen.” I never heard of the statement before. Any way, there is no such legal status as a Sovereign Citizen. Either one is a citizen or not, but one has to obey the laws of a country, one is residing in.

  • Reynardine

    There is no doubt in my mind that this man was deranged, and it should have been handled better. I don’t expect much subtletofrom the Panhandle, though.

  • Erika

    radical right gun nuts, this guy is not a victim of the government, counterfeiting money is a serious crime so this guy was either going to prison or the grave and he choose the grave. another case of suicide by cop

  • Steve

    The guy just wanted to be left alone, so for that the cops stom his house and kill him. typical.

  • concernedcitizen

    Well I agree Gregory although we may find that the people who are claiming to be sovereigns are not going to be deemed mentally ill because I don’t believe that stupidity falls under mental illness.

    What I find most disturbing is that these individuals believe that they can exact laws and demands in which they have no authority over. Such as the strange individuals who have come across who believe they have a right to threaten people in order to push their illegal agendas. The clodpolls I’ve run across write messages on their car windows meant for intimidation, I’ve seen them literally use markers to write things on their bare arms, it’s insane!

    At this point I don’t believe it matters what human god they believe themselves to be bowing too. The importance lies in the fact that these individuals whether organized crime, kkk, ss, 88, skinheads,neo nazis, or sovereigns should indeed be considered homegrown terrorists when their practices start affecting innocent citizens of this country.

    Perhaps they may want to consider banding together and finding some unclaimed land somewhere and then starting their own civilization. But as it stands waging a half baked war on innocent America Citizens is not the brightest path to take.

    Our founding fathers left England they didn’t try to blow it up or kill everyone there in a half baked hostile takeover.

    The FBI mentions loose networks and I believe that the networks are probably tighter and more organized in certain areas than the FBI is either reporting or aware of.

  • Sam Molloy

    That’s Semi Automatic. Automatic firearms are, like, machine guns. Glad the dep’ties are better shots than he was, though.

  • Gregory

    Mental illness and firearms are rarely a good mix.