LAS VEGAS — A foiled plot by two self-proclaimed adherents of a sovereign citizen movement to kidnap and execute Las Vegas police officers shows the potential for violence from a group that renounces government, experts and investigators said Friday.
They said allegations that David Allen Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, planned to confront officers during traffic stops and kill them if they resisted illustrated the volatility of people committed to the idea of fighting governmental authority.
"You look at their motivation being that the government that gives the officer authority isn't viable, and if they get a following, it's a threat to be reckoned with," said Kory Flowers, a Greensboro, N.C., police detective who studies sovereign citizen groups and teaches police about them.
Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., counted seven killings of law enforcement officers by alleged sovereign citizen members in the past 10 years.
Brutsche is an ex-felon child sex offender who sometimes sold water to tourists on the Las Vegas Strip. Newman has only speeding, parking and vehicle registration tickets in her background.
The two stood before a judge Friday and told him they didn't recognize his authority.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen sent them back to jail pending a Sept. 9 preliminary hearing on charges of felony conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping.