It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but this dumb mistake caused a Tri-Cities man with warrants to be captured by police.
The Kennewick Police Spot Something Strange
The story was spelled out on the Kennewick Facebook this morning. A KPD officer spotted a speeder around Kennewick Ave and Quincy St late Sunday night around midnight. After confirming the speed with radar, the officer turned on the emergency lights and got behind the driver. That is when the officer noticed something very strange with the license plate (more on that in a second).
The Car Refused to Stop
After the officer turned on the emergency lights, the car refused to pull over although they slowed down to 25 mph and stopped shortly at a couple stop signs. After a short and slow chase, the car pulled into a trailer park off Columbia Drive and the driver was detained. The 48-year-old man from Kennewick claimed he had done nothing wrong and so he did not have to pull over. Is he wrong?
The License Plate Said – No Driver’s License or Insurance Required
Now for the strange part of the story. The license plate on the car said: “Private” in the center with “No Driver’s License or Insurance Required, Not for Commerce Use private Mode of Travel.” These plates are distributed by a group called “Sovereign Citizens” that do not recognize the government and feel they are free from its laws. These plates have been seen in Washington State for years but are still not even close to legal.
Are Sovereign Citizen License Plates Legal?
According to the FBI, they define Sovereign Citizens as “anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or sovereign from the United States.” The license plate illustrates the idea that the person believes they have the right of travel given to them by the Constitution and that they do not need a license, plate, or anything else to execute that right. There are a lot of rules for custom license plates in Washington State to be legal, but these plates are not legal no matter what you believe politically.
What was the Kennewick Sovereign Citizen Charged with?
After finally pulling over, the man was issued multiple charges including failing to stop for emergency vehicle, driving with suspended license, and for the warrants. He was then booked into the Benton County Jail. I guess he did not only think that he did not need a legal license plate, but that he also did not need a license or the need to show up to court. Turns out he was wrong by all three accounts but maybe he can convince the judge to see it his way.