Violence Against Law Enforcement

In a 2014 the Police Executive Research Forum and the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University conducted a survey of 382 law enforcement agencies, whose combined jurisdiction covered 86 percent of the U.S. population. The survey found 74 percent of law enforcement agencies consider anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction. A February 2015 Department of Homeland Security report stated that “law enforcement officials will remain the primary target of (sovereign citizen) violence.”


Micah Johnson

Micah Johnson opened fired on a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas. He killed five police officers and wounded seven others, including two civilians. During the stand-off, Johnson told police negotiators he was angry about the recent shooting of black men by police officers and wanted to kill white police officers in retaliation. Johnson was killed by a police robot armed with an explosive device.

July 7, 2016


Brent Douglas Cole

Brent Douglas Cole, a sovereign citizen camping in the woods of northern California, opened fire on two law enforcement officers who were investigating vehicles that had been parked for a long time at a wooded campground near Nevada City. Cole had a history of interest in far-right conspiracies on the Internet. On one website, Cole stated was a “sovereign American Citizen attempting to thwart the obvious conspiracy and subterfuges of powers inimical to the United States.” In October 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Cole for assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon that inflicted bodily injury and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.

June 15, 2014

Jerad and Amanda Miller

Jerad and Amanda Miller, husband and wife, entered a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada, where two police officers are eating lunch. Jerad Miller fatally shot Officer Igor Soldo. When his partner, Officer Alyn Beck, tried to react, Miller shot him in the throat. Both Millers then shot Beck several times. On Beck’s body, the pair left a swastika and Gadsen flag. On Soldo’s body, they left a note stating, “This is the start of the revolution.” After leaving the restaurant, the couple walked to a nearby Walmart where Amanda Miller shots and killed Joseph Wilcox. They then barricaded themselves in the back of the store. Jerad was shot to death by police, and Amanda killed herself. The couple held strong anti-government views. Jerad Miller’s Facebook page contained calls to impeach President Obama and several statements about conspiracy theories popular among Patriot groups. Two months earlier, the couple was at the Cliven Bundy ranch in Nevada, where militias had gathered in an armed standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over a grazing fee dispute. The Millers saw law enforcement officers as oppressors and reportedly told a neighbor they planned to kill police.

June 8, 2014


Christopher Lacy

Christopher Lacy shot California Highway Patrol officer Kenyon Youngstrom at close range after Youngstrom stopped Lacy’s vehicle, which had an obstructed license plate. Lacy was fatally shot by another trooper, and Youngstrom died the next day. A subsequent investigation showed a large amount of anti-government, sovereign citizens literature on Lacy’s home computers.

Sept 4, 2012

St. Johns Baptist Parish

Six people, involved in the sovereign citizens movement, ambush and murder St. Johns Baptist Parish deputies, Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche, when the deputies pursued the suspects from a nearby oil refinery. Terry Lyn Smith, wife, Chanel Skains, his sons, Derrick and Brian Smith, and Brittany Keith and Kyle David Joekel were suspected at shooting another off-duty deputy at the refinery who was working as a guard. Skains and Keith pled guilty as accessories and agreed to testify against the others. Derrick Smith pled to the same charge. He received a five-year sentence with an additional 12 years for being a felon in possession of a weapon. Brian Smith and Joekel were charged with capital murder. Terry Smith was charged with being a principal to attempted first-degree murder.

Aug 16, 2012


Eli Franklin Myers, III

Survivalist Eli Franklin Myers, III, shot two Pennsylvania state troopers after they pulled him over for expired vehicle registration and no proof of insurance. Myers exited his car and fired at Officers John David Dryer and Robert V. Caldwell. Officer Dryer was killed and Officer Caldwell was severely injured. Myers, who was a former police officer, was also killed in the shootout.

Dec 18, 2011


Victor Dewayne White

Victor Dewayne White, a sovereign citizen, shot and wounded three people, including two sheriff’s deputies, before surrendering at the end of a 22-hour standoff. The incident began when an oil company employee went to White’s property with Ector County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Tijerina and Sgt. Steve McNeil to access an oil well to which the company owned rights. White had ties to the separatist Republic of Texas, which claimed Texas is a sovereign nation never legally annexed by the United States.

Sept. 17, 2010

Jerry & Joseph Kane

Jerry Kane, 45, and son, Joseph Kane, shot and killed two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers during a traffic stop. Jerry Kane argued with the officers about the validity of his vehicle registration and then pushed Officer Thomas Williams Evans into a ditch. Joseph Kane then shot and killed Evans and fellow police officer, Robert Brandon Paudert. Authorities caught the father and son team 45 minutes later. In the ensuing shootout, two more officers were wounded, and both Kanes were killed. The pair were sovereign citizens who believed the police had no right to patrol the roadways and were traveling across the country giving seminars in bogus sovereign techniques for avoiding foreclosure and other financial matters.

May 20, 2010

Byron Williams

Byron Williams opened fire on California Highway Patrol troopers after they pulled him over for a routine traffic stop. Two troopers were injured. Williams later told authorities he was on his way to carry out an attack on offices of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tides Foundation, a liberal organization. In 2014, Williams was found guilty of four counts of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer and three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 401 years in prison.

July 18, 2010

Brody James

Brody James opened fired on two Florida state troopers during a routine traffic stop in Sumter County. Whitaker fled the scene on foot. When he was arrested two weeks later, Whitaker challenged the authority of a judge and declared himself a sovereign citizen, immune to the laws of the land. Whitaker was extradited to Florida and faced charges of assaulting and fleeing from a police officer. In 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison.

March 25, 2010


Joshua Cartwright

Joshua Cartwright, a Florida National Guardsman, shot and killed two Okaloosa County, Florida sheriff’s deputies, Burt Lopez and Warren “Skip” York, both 45. The officers were attempting to arrest Cartwright on domestic violence charges at a shooting range in Crestview. After fleeing the scene, Cartwright was fatally shot during a gun battle with pursuing officers. Cartwright’s wife later reported Cartwright was “severely disturbed” Barack Obama was elected president. The county sheriff stated Cartwright was interested in joining a militia group.

April 25, 2009

photo from Richard Poplawski’s Myspace

Richard Andrew Poplawski

Richard Andrew Poplawski shot and killed three Pittsburgh police officers. The officers were responding to a call about a domestic dispute between Poplawski and his mother. Poplawski believed in a host of conspiracy theories including U.S. troops would be used against U.S. citizens and a secret cabal of Jews ran the United States. Poplawski was also influenced by radio radical Alex Jones, a fellow conspiracy theorist.

April 4, 2009