Sovereign Citizen Driver Killed During Traffic Stop Over Fake License Plate
Funeral services were held Sunday for a driver shot by police earlier this month after he refused to exit his vehicle, espoused sovereign citizen rhetoric and seemingly reached for a weapon during a traffic stop.
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Driver Chase Allan can be seen arguing with Farmington, Utah, police over the false license plate fixed to the back of the vehicle. In recently released dash cam footage, Allan claimed he doesn’t need a drivers license or vehicle registration.
Allan can clearly be seen wearing a gun on his hip, though it is unclear whether Allan reached for the weapon during the confrontation. Chase followed an ideology of “state nationals” movement, which is just another patch of the sovereign citizen quilt, according to the Daily Beast:
The traffic stop that led to Allan’s death began when police noticed his car’s unofficial license plates, which read “Utah, American State Citizen” and “Notice, Private Automobile Not For Hire.”
Body camera footage shows an officer asking Allan to present a license and registration. “I don’t need registration and I don’t answer questions,” Allan said. After a few minutes of back-and-forth, Allan eventually handed over his passport, but immediately claimed that the person in the passport (Chase Allan) was not him. Subscribers to sovereign citizen beliefs sometimes claim that they are separate legal entities from the people named in official documents like passports and birth certificates.
“That is not me. That is a piece of plastic paper,” Allan told the officer.
“So you have a fraudulent passport?” the officer asked. He asked Allan to get out of the car. Allan refused, telling police they would “have an issue” if they tried to remove him from the car. A second police officer opened the car door, an escalation Farmington Police Chief Eric Johnsen defended as appropriate.
“That escalation of force, from verbal to hands-on, in my opinion was absolutely reasonable and appropriate,” Johnson said in a Wednesday press conference
Police opened Allan’s car door when he refused the comply with direction. He seemingly reached for the side of his body where his gun was located in its holster, but it’s unclear what he was reaching for. One of the officers shouted “Gun! Gun!” and he and five of his fellow officer opened fire, shooting Allan several times in the chest. The gun was later found on the floor of the passenger side of the vehicle. Allan was taken to a local hospital where he subsequently died, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.
Allan’s mother was also pulled over for having an expired license plate in 2022. That run-in with police resulted in an ongoing federal lawsuit, Daily Beast reports:
The stop began when an officer noticed Diane Killian-Allan’s car registration was expired, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Killian-Allan, who was driving an uninsured car with an expired license, claimed the officer had no legal right to stop her.
Killian-Allan, who did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment, later filed a federal lawsuit against Farmington Police over the traffic stop. The suit, which is ongoing, is full of references to the sovereign citizen movement. At points, Killian-Allan refers to herself as a “Private Citizen of Utah ‘state’” and spells her name as “Diane;. Killian-Allan.” (Followers of sovereign citizen teachings sometimes add extra punctuation into their names in the mistaken belief that it will distinguish them from the person named in their legal documents.)
Like her son last month, Killian-Allan offered a police officer her passport during the 2022 traffic stop. In her lawsuit, she explains that she did so because she believed she did not need a license while “traveling,” which some sovereign citizens claim is different from driving.
“While traveling I was not operating under a ‘driver license’ and provided a passport,” the lawsuit reads.
Funny these anti-government extremists think that federal laws and courts don’t apply to them but are more than happy to gum up our court system with this nonsense.
Sovereign citizens often operate under the mistaken belief that because they are “traveling” in their vehicles and not engaging in commerce, the state has no right to even regulate their free movement on publicly funded roads. This assumption is based of a very flawed understanding of both the U.S. Constitution and state laws regulating motor vehicles.
Indeed, you do not need a license to use public roads — but operating a motor vehicle is an entirely different story. It’s in state’s and public’s interest to regulate who can use motor vehicles. It would be like if a warehouse worker demanded the right to use the forklift, despite not being forklift certified, because of clause in his employment agreement mentioned possible forklift duties.
Followers of the confusing idealogy often have license plates much like the one Allan was using and they are freely available to purchase online. Some of them even look pretty good, even if they are all obviously fake.
Killian-Allan lost her son, and Allan lost his life — that fact is a true tragedy. And while personal responsibility is important, I can’t help but feel a little bad for folks led astray by these types of movements. Police are trained on how to handle sovereign citizens; however, several high-profile incidents with followers of the ideology have made cops a little more twitchy. Like this 2018 incident of a sovereign citizen killed during a shoot out with police after he was reported for letting a three-year-old drive a car. Or 2021, when sovereign citizens shut down a six-lane freeway in Massachusetts for hours because in their world, they were above the law.
Warning the video below contains graphic violent material. Viewer discretion is advised:
Police bodycam video shows fatal shooting of Chase Allan
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