Two sovereign citizens planning to kidnap and kill a Las Vegas Metro Police officer were arrested Tuesday following a three-month undercover investigation into the scheme, police said.
David Allan Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, were arrested by Las Vegas Metro PD counter-terrorism officers and booked Wednesday on charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and other charges.
During 30 meetings with the suspects during the investigation, undercover detectives recorded hours of conversations in which Brutsche and Newman expressed their hatred for law enforcement and described an elaborate plan to start "snatching cops" at traffic stops, imprison them in a makeshift jail at a vacant house, conduct a trial in their own court, and kill the officer.
Brutsche said the plan was necessary because police have violated his constitutional civil rights. He told undercover detectives that even though he physically lives in this country, he is separate or "sovereign" from the United States.
"We have the right to stop the cops by killing them," he said in June, according to the police report. He added, "We have the right to shoot cops because we, as 'the people,' are the kings and the police are the servants."
Brutsche and Newman professed their allegiance to the sovereign movement in which followers believe police have no authority to arrest or detain them. Sovereigns attempt to thwart police action with paper terrorism during the legal process, and can present a violent threat to officers in the field, said Det. Rob Finch, who has investigated numerous sovereign cases with the Greensboro (N.C.) Police Department's Criminal Intelligence Unit.
Finch cautioned officers who encounter sovereigns at vehicle stops to proceed with caution.
"Just because these folks appear to be a mouthy sovereign that violent threat is there," Finch told PoliceMag.com. "Patrol officers are dealing with a segment of society who doesn't believe in our authority."
Brutsche and Newman told undercover detectives they hoped their plan would help recruit others to their cause, including using training and recruitment videos. The video would coach other sovereigns about what to say to officers at traffic stops, including "Don't touch your weapon, don't touch your radio, or I'll blow your head off."
He discussed obtaining firearms training from Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Pahrump, Nev. Brutsche also said he did extensive research on the internet in planning the scene, according to police records.
In July, Brutsche told an undercover detective he wanted to recruit a team of people and that he had "plans for dealing with the cops when they were 'harassing people.'" He added, "Blood or no blood, it doesn't matter. I will kill anyone that tries to stop the cause of liberty. I have no qualms about it."
After the kidnapping, Brutsche said he would take the officer to a vacant home. On Aug. 12, Brutsche and Newman were brought to a police-controlled residence, where they began attaching boards and eye sockets to a wall in the master bedroom where they planned to restrain the officer. Three days later, they discussed disposing of the dead officer's body by dumping it in the desert.
Brutsche said he would assemble a sovereign jury for a trial accusing the officer of treason. Las Vegas SWAT officers arrested the pair Tuesday, as they planned to move forward with the kidnapping plan.
By Paul Clinton
Sovereign Citizens: A Clear and Present Danger