The Southern Poverty Law Center has produced a video to educate police officers about domestic terrorists and cop killers.
And naturally, they include people who videotape cops as potential suspects.
The 12:25 minute video focuses on the “sovereign citizen” movement – described as a “radical, anti-government movement” – which the SPLC further describes below:
The so-called “sovereign citizens” movement — men and women who believe they are exempt from most state and federal laws, regulations and tax codes — is spreading like a prairie fire. While many of these are tax resistors or perpetrators of “paper terrorism” – the filing of nuisance liens and such – some sovereign citizens have demonstrated a willingness to resist police and government authority with violence.
Earlier this year, two Arkansas police officers were killed during a traffic stop involving a father-and-son team of sovereigns, so it is understandable why officers would need to educate themselves about these individuals.
However, the video uses a very broad brush to paint people who have right-wing bumper stickers on their cars as well as people who videotape cops as being potential cop killers.
According to an officer speaking at 8:15 into the video:
“Some sovereigns may record their encounters with police, possibly in an effort to intimidate the officers.
They might warn the officer that they are recording the encounter, then say something like ‘I am reserving all of my common law rights’.
“Some of these recordings showing the officers are then posted on the sovereigns’ websites.”
Here is an example of a sovereign website. It is just oozing with hatred against cops. No, I’m just kidding, but I’ve been told that about my website before, so I’m sure many people will get the same impression from that site.
The SPLC estimates the sovereign movement has about 300,000 members. Fox News provides more details on the movement in this article. And Wikipedia, which calls it the “redemption movement,” gets even more in-depth.
Perhaps police officers need to be educated about people who do not recognize their authority or the authority of the court system.
But most people who videotape cops most likely have never heard of the sovereign movement nor do they wish to kill police officers.
They simply want to hold the officer accountable for his actions in a manner that is protected under the First Amendment.
And that has nothing to do with terrorism.