LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The alleged plot to kidnap and kill a police officer has put a spotlight on the group known as Sovereign Citizens, but this is not the first time they’ve been in Las Vegas. The group has been here for years -- so who are they and what do they believe?
Law enforcement that has dealt with Sovereign Citizens for years.
"They are willing to kill and be killed to uphold [their] beliefs," said retired West Memphis police chief Bob Paudert. "They are willing to die for it."
Retired West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert lost a son, also a police officer in 2010. Two people jumped out of their car during a traffic stop and opened fire. The killers called themselves Sovereign.
But nationally, members of Sovereign Citizens are trying to distance themselves from the violence. One of these people is Alfred Adask, one of the most vocal Sovereigns, who talked to us from his house in Texas.
“A lot of people claim to be Sovereigns. They think it’s a get out of jail free card,” Adask said. “It’s nothing like that. You really wind up subjecting yourself to God’s law.
So if they aren’t violent, and aren't anti-government, than who are they?
“The Sovereigns that are legitimate in my opinion are somewhat like scholars,” Adask said. “They're trying to uncover to bones of this concept of individual sovereignty on which this nation was built.”
Adask says they are just Americans who believe the government has abandoned the constitution, become a corporation, and entered into a police state.
“We need to stop that,” Adask said. “If we get enough people to say so at the same time, we can make it stop.”
But it’s hard to separate an extremist message. On his own radio show, Adask calls for something that could be mistaken for a call to violence, saying “we are going to have to get to a point where we no longer play nice.”
And police are preparing for violence. Sheriffs across the country are training for the violence that Sovereigns can bring during routine operations. Courts are training for lawsuits Sovereigns bring against the government.
The reality, though, is they are growing in numbers. Chief Paudert believes the number of Sovereign Citizens could be in the hundreds of thousands.
News 3 will continue to follow the developments and court hearings for these two suspects.