Idahoan Robert Peterson has a strange concept of what laws are for and who they apply to. The 21-year-old showed up at Kootenai County court in August for a summons he got for riding his bike at night without a light on, but instead of taking what would have likely been a minor fine, Peterson wound up in a world of trouble. With his camera rolling, Peterson claims that he has neither a first name nor a last name, just a “name,” which is Robert. He also says that he is not a person, and not a U.S. Citizen because he was not born in Washington D.C. or in a territory under federal jurisdiction. When pressed a little further, Peterson admits he’s from Idaho.
As he makes his way towards the courtroom, Peterson is met by two bailiffs who calmly refuse to let him enter with a camera — filming is prohibited in Kootenai County court without a press permit. Peterson tells he bailiff that he’s “blocking [his] freedom of movement,” to which the bailiff says “I am.” Peterson tries to shove past, and, after he is prevented from doing so, he accuses the bailiff of battery. He’s then tased and continues protesting from the floor. Peterson was booked on charges of battery and criminal contempt. He told KXLY that his political beliefs mean he’s exempt from most laws, adding ”I have never consented to being held liable under any statue or anything for that matter.” It is unclear based on the video where the battery charges against Peterson come from, so Crime Library has requested a copy of the police report from the Coeur D’Alene police department.
There are several movements which espouse the beliefs held by Peterson. Followers of one such movement, Freemen on the Land, believe that society’s laws are contractual, and only those who consent to the contract are subject to be governed by them. Members of the Sovereign Citizen Movement reject all federal, state and municipal statutes. The FBI classifies Sovereign Citizens as anti-government extremists.