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‘Sovereign Citizen’ Surrenders Following Standoff With SWAT Team in Pasadena

Published on Monday, September 14, 2020 | 4:00 pm
Map © OpenStreetMap contributors. Photo of a SWAT officer in armored vehicle outside suspect’s residence by Eddie Rivera.

A man espousing “sovereign citizen” ideology holed-up inside a Pasadena home for more than four hours after police arrived with a warrant related to a criminal threats investigation, officials said.

Officers went to an apartment in the 700 block of North Lake Avenue shortly before noon to serve the warrant, as well as to investigate reports of ongoing criminal threats against a neighbor, Pasadena police officials said.

The man refused to come out, initiating a standoff, according to Lt. Pete Hettema. He made statements reflecting the so-called “sovereign citizen” movement, of which members are known to deny government authority.

A SWAT team was summoned to the scene as crisis negotiators tried to persuade the man to surrender. Nearby apartments were evacuated as a precaution.

The man, described as being in his mid-30s, was believed to be alone inside the apartment. No weapons had been seen during the incident.

The suspect ultimately surrendered to police a little after 4 p.m. Lt. William Grisafe said. He was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking.

He was identified as Kevin Michael Norman, 37, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County booking records. He was taken to a hospital for examination prior to booking.

Norman was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Thursday in the Pasadena branch of  Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.

The Sovereign Citizens Movement is described as a right-wing extremist group made up of people who reject the authority of judges, juries, law enforcement and elected officials, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Sovereign citizens believe they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes,” the SPLC reports on its website. “The movement is rooted in racism and anti- Semitism, though most sovereigns, many of whom are African American, are unaware of their beliefs’ origins.”

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