Las Vegas Metro Police announced late Thursday that they had arrested roommates David Allen Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman, a couple who spent hundreds of hours devising a plan to abduct, torture and execute police officers in order to bring attention to their anti-government “Sovereign Citizens” movement. Brutsche, a registered sex offender from California, told an undercover officer in July that “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.”
The four-month long undercover investigation revealed that the pair planned to drive until they spotted a single officer conducting a traffic stop. Brutsche would then ambush the officer and yell, according to the police reports, “Touch that radio and I’ll blow your head off!”
The officer would be bound, then transported to a “sovereign jail” where they would be tried, found guilty, and executed. They planned to use bleach and vinegar to remove all physical evidence from the bodies before dumping them in the desert.
On July 26, Brutsche filmed officers conducting traffic stops in order to learn their exact routine. The stop had been staged by Metro Police. Two weeks laters, undercover officers brought them to an unoccupied single-family house which the couple planned to use as the location of their “sovereign jail,” and Brutsche immediately began renovating the master bedroom to accommodate the heavy shackles they would use to restrain the officers.
On August 15, Metro Police say the suspects moved from the “planning to operating phase,” recording a video that would be sent to the media after they successfully completed their first trial and execution. The video is said to have described the beliefs of the Sovereign Citizens movement, which the FBI classifies as an anti-government extremist and domestic terror threat. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Sovereigns believe that if they can find just the right combination of words, punctuation, paper, ink color and timing, they can have anything they want—freedom from taxes, unlimited wealth, and life without licenses, fees or laws, are all just a few strangely worded documents away.”
Brutsche and Newman were arrested on August 20, after they reportedly told undercover officers they were ready to carry out their plan. SWAT teams arrested the pair after Newman told Brutsche and undercover officers that they should text her when they find and subdue an officer, and that she would be waiting at the house to open the garage when they arrived. They were taken in without incident.
“They were furthering their ‘sovereign citizen’ ideology by committing criminal acts toward law enforcement,” Metro Police Lt. James Seebock said. “The suspects believed that once the first kidnapping and execution was accomplished, they would be compelled to keep repeating their actions, kidnapping and killing multiple officers.”
Watch a video of the LVMP’s press conference here:
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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