MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A woman claiming to be a 'Sovereign Citizen' was arrested after she refused to exit her vehicle during a traffic stop and drove away, hitting two Memphis officers in the process.
Memphis police pulled over 32-year-old Tabitha Gentry on South Bellevue Boulevard near South Parkway around 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9 for driving without her headlights on. When officers asked for her driver's license, she provided a Sovereign Citizen identification card but no license. Records showed that her Tennessee license had been suspended in May 2007.
According to the police affidavit, the officers asked her to get out of her vehicle, but she refused and locked her doors. As police attempted to break the windows on her car Gentry put her car in gear and struck both officers on the scene. A chase ensued and Gentry was apprehended on the 1900-block of Lapaloma Street and placed under arrest.
Tabitha Gentry was charged with Aggravated Assault, Driving on a Suspended License, and Evading Arrest. She has since been released from the Shelby County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
According to the FBI, Sovereign Citizens are descried as a loose network of individuals living in the United States who believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Most only commit non-violent offenses, such as refusing to pay taxes. However, lone-offender sovereign-citizen extremists have killed six law enforcement officers since 2000, the FBI states.
On May 20, 2010, West Memphis Police Officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were gunned down by Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son, Joseph, during a routine traffic stop on I-40. It was later discovered that Kane was active in the sovereign citizen movement.