Martin Chapman claims sovereign citizenship, tells cops: 'I don't acknowledge your use of force'

Chapman claimed to be a "sovereign citizen," so Homeland Security was alerted following his arrest.
Chapman claimed to be a "sovereign citizen," so Homeland Security was alerted following his arrest.

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Martin Chapman lives in Wisconsin, but he doesn't answer to Scott Walker or President Obama; the only law he recognizes is common law.

Or so he led Grand Meadow, Minnesota police officers to believe. When officers attempted to pull Chapman, 50, over for speeding on August 31, he just kept cruising; when he finally stopped his car, he told officers he's a "sovereign citizen" and then got back on the road.

The Austin Daily Herald provides some details:

A Grand Meadow officer first attempted to stop Chapman after he clocked him going 68 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to the sheriff's report. Chapman then pulled onto the Valley Transportation property west of Grand Meadow and allegedly refused to get out of the car or show his hands. According to the court complaint, Chapman said he is a "sovereign citizen" and would not recognize the officer's authority. Chapman then left Valley Transportation, and deputies arrived and followed. Chapman allegedly went south on 740th Avenue near Grand Meadow, crossed the centerline and nearly struck another vehicle. Deputies were able to block Chapman's path as he pulled into the parking lot of the SKB Lounge; however, Chapman continually refused to get out of the car, according to the complaint. He told officers "I do not acknowledge your use of force," the complaint adds.

After officers watched Chapman reach for the glove box several times, they smashed the car window and pulled Chapman out.

The Austin Post-Bulletin (there are two papers in Austin?!) reports that Chapman had a 13-year-old female passenger in the car with him. She was returned to her mother in Inver Grove Heights. After his arrest, Chapman told officers he was in the midst of returning from Oklahoma to his Balsam Lake, Wisconsin home when he ran into trouble with the law.

Self-described sovereign citizens take the position that they are answerable only to common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state, or municipal level. Some don't recognize U.S. currency as legitimate. The FBI classifies them as anti-government extremists and as domestic terrorism threats.

That said, it isn't surprising that when Chapman was finally arrested, Homeland Security was contacted. He's been charged with a felony count of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, and gross misdemeanor counts of neglect of a child involving likely substantial harm and obstructing the legal process. His pretrial hearing is scheduled for January 4.

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