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Four State police learn about growing anti-government movement - KOAM TV 7

Four State police learn about growing anti-government movement: sovereign citizens

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Around 160 police officers from across the Four States gather in Miami, Oklahoma to learn about a growing anti-government movement called sovereign citizens, and how to react if the movement turns violent.

Bob Paudert knows about the threat of radical sovereign citizens all too well.  He was the chief of police in West Memphis, Arkansas when two members of the anti-government movement shot and killed two police officer during a routine stop.

One of those officers was Paudert's son.

"In their mind they are being harassed and we have absolutely no authority to even stop and talk to them," says Paudert.  "I've seen what they can do first-hand.  When I pulled up on the scene and my son is lying there, shot and killed.  And not all are killers, but we don't know - we can't distinguish in law enforcement when we stop a sovereign and pull over a sovereign if they are killers or not killers."

According to Paudert the sovereign citizen, or freeman movement, continues to grow nationwide.  Citizens involved in the movement refuse to be governed by local, state or federal governments.

"We're trying to tell the police officers that these people exist because a lot of times a police officers is totally caught off guard," says William Dyson of the Institute for Inter-Governmental Research.

Miami Police Chief George Haralson admits to not knowing any sovereign citizens in Miami, but he says that awareness is still important.

"The fact that we've got Interstate 44 and Route 66 that traverse right through this part of the region, we will always have that potential for a dangerous car stop," says Chief Haralson.

"My officers thought they were dealing with a church van with a pastor and a son traveling the county - they didn't know they were killers," says Paudert.  "And that is what is taking law enforcement by surprise."

Paudert says that citizens have every right to disagree with government intervention and to practice what they believe, but that officers ought to step in when laws are being broken and lives are being taken.

The training is put on by the State or Local Anti-Terrorism Train program known as SLATT.

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