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'Sovereign Citizen' Wounded In Shoot-Out With Police Officer


James M. Tesi of Colleyville, TX faces a charge of attempted capital murder after drawing his gun on a police officer who had pulled him over last week. Tesi was wanted on arrest warrants for speeding, driving without a license, and failure to appear when the officer stopped him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

"The officer stopped in the street in front of the residence and approached the subject on foot," according to a press release by the police department. "The subject exited his vehicle and pointed a handgun at the officer. In fear of his life, the officer raised his weapon. An exchange of gunfire occurred."

Tesi, who was shot in the face and the foot, was released from the hospital and sent to jail, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney's office, where he could soon face a grand jury trial.

In February of 2010, Tesi was pulled over for not wearing his seatbelt, and ordered to pay $244.15. He did not, and filed a number of documents with the Arlington Municipal Court, saying he did not have to follow any laws except for "common law, equity and admiralty and maritime laws," according to Steve Norder of the Colleyville Courier.

Tesi wrote "in this matter you have my permission to use my private exemption" on the traffic ticket itself, and sent the police officers an "Official Notice" saying a municipal court has no standing because traffic laws "are contained within the civil statutes and not the Texas Penal Code."

"You also are in want of jurisdiction concerning any declared Texian National Citizen," the notice stated.

He has also claimed the city of Arlington owes him $2.5 million.

This type of language is consistent with the sovereign citizen movement, individuals who don't believe in the legitimacy of virtually any form of government in the U.S.. So-called sovereign citizens often come out of the woodwork when confronted with law enforcement over speeding tickets or license plates, and sometimes the encounters can turn violent.

h/t SPLC.