Footage has emerged of the mother of a suspected “sovereign citizen” – who was gunned down earlier this month by police during a traffic stop – herself arguing with officers in a similar incident a year prior to her son’s death.
Diane Allan, of Salt Lake City, Utah, also used the term “sovereign” multiple times in a court filing to fight the charges she received from the traffic stop.
That’s despite her daughter insisting her mother was not a sovereign citizen but an “American State National”.
That’s a term an extremist expert has said is essentially interchangeable with sovereign citizen.
Sovereign citizens believe a conspiracy theory that they are exempt from most laws or requirements to hold government paperwork, like driving licenses.
Chase Allan, 25, died on March 1 in a car park in Farmington, north of Salt Lake City.
He was pulled over by police who claimed he had “illegitimate” licence plates. The plate featured images and terms similar to sovereign citizen tropes.
It’s not been confirmed if Mr Allen was an adherent to the sovereign citizen cause.
During an exchange where he was repeatedly asked to exit the vehicle but refused, Mr Allan told police they had no “jurisdiction” over him.
The former college footballer died when a police officer shouted “gun” leading him to be shot multiple times.
The Allan family have said their son’s death was a “brutal murder”. Police have admitted it’s not clear from bodycam footage if Mr Allan was reaching for a gun when he was shot. A gun did appear to be found in the car.
Mum’s similar traffic stop
In April 2022, Ms Allan was also pulled over by Farmington Police who alleged she was driving an unregistered vehicle and had no insurance.
Police bodycam footage has revealed that the encounter had striking similarities to the traffic stop which ultimately led to her son’s death.
Like her son, Ms Allan refused to lower her window, opening it only a crack despite the officer’s protestations that he was struggling to hear her.
She also failed to hand over a driving licence when asked. Just like Mr Allan, she offered her passport as identification instead.
But along with the passport, Ms Allan bizarrely also handed over a copy of the US Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
American sovereign citizens believe that they are uniquely protected under the US Constitution from being subject to laws while other citizens have unknowingly bargained their rights away.
When it comes to driving, sovereign citizens assert they have a right to “travel” in “private” vehicles but can avoid traffic laws.
The footage showed the officer patiently listening to Ms Allan.
‘Is it worth arresting her?’
Returning to his vehicle with her passport he called then Lieutenant Eric Johnsen, who is now Farmington chief of police and has fronted the media about Mr Allan’s death.
The officer told Mr Johnsen, who later attended the scene, he had “stopped a Constitutionalist” and it was his first experience of dealing with one.
“She’s recording me. (She said): ‘This is private property, I don’t have to register the car.’”
Mr Johnsen advised the officer to be courteous and not to escalate the matter.
“Is it worth pulling her out of her car and arresting her for failure to identify? No, probably not.
“Just cite her for whatever violation she has and send her on her way,” he said.
The police officer returned to Ms Allen’s car with a citation to attend court and pushed it through the window as she tried to give him a leaflet which he didn’t ake.
“I’m not interested in reading that. You’re free to go,” he said.
Court case descends into chaos
Ms Allan then sued Farmington Police over the traffic stop with audio emerging of the chaos the court hearing descended into.
Ms Allan’s son intervened in the proceedings which led officers to remove him from the chamber.
He screamed: “This is battery and assault. This is treason,” while Ms Allan demanded he be let go.
The Salt Lake City Tribune newspaper reported that Ms Allan later stormed out of her trial claiming the court “had no jurisdiction” over her.
Ms Allan’s sister Courtney Vandegrift wrote to news website Heavy after it referred to her mother as a sovereign citizen.
The correct term, she said, was “American State National”.
“The term sovereign citizen has been used by certain entities to weaponise government and law enforcement against the people,” she wrote.
Christine Sarteschi, who is an academic at Pennsylvania’s Chatham University, told website Vice the terminology was splitting hairs.
“Aside from a bit of difference in nomenclature, they are the same,” she said.
‘Sovereign’ mentioned multiple times
However it’s now emerged that Ms Allan herself used the term “sovereign” on multiple occasions in court.
Utah television station ABC 4 reported that during her appearances Ms Allan, who had no legal representation, claimed she was not under the jurisdiction of Farmington City, Davis County, the State of Utah, or the United States.
Her lawsuit used the term “sovereign” five times including a declaration that she is “one of the sovereign people of Utah neither in the capacity as a citizen of the state of Utah nor as a citizen of the United States”.
The word “jurisdiction” is mentioned 74 times and she stated she is “within, but outside the limits of the jurisdiction of the state of Utah”.
She stated that the police officers “wrongfully claimed to have the right to enforce traffic codes” which breached her “Constitutional Rights”.
Ms Allan further wrote that was “was not operating under a (driving) license and that she was travelling in private”.
“Plaintiff had her liberty to move about unlawfully restrained by (police),” she claimed.
It is the sincere belief of US sovereign citizens that the constitution protects their right to travel without documentation.
But multiple court cases have stated that requiring a licence and insurance to operate a potentially dangerous vehicle is not incompatible with the overall right of freedom of movement. Essentially, if you want to travel without documentation, hop on a horse.
‘Declaration of war’
Ms Allan’s lawsuit said following her traffic stop she then went to the police station in an attempt to get the citation overturned. But she claimed Mr Johnsen told her that her car would be impounded if she didn’t abide by the road rules.
That comment was a “declaration of war” against here, she stated.
The Allan family do not appear to refer to themselves as sovereign citizens, which is an ill-defined term anyway. So it’s difficult to conclusively say they were followers of the movement.
And Chase Allan was not killed because of a suspicion he was a sovereign citizen. He died after police officers pulled him over due to a number plate that may have been illegal and those same officers subsequently made a decision about his possible possession and use of a gun.
It’s that decision that will be scrutinised for some time.
Police chief Eric Johnson, who was at Diane Allan’s traffic stop, said an investigation is taking place into her son’s death.
The five officers, which made up one-fifth of the local police force, are on administrative leave.
News.com.au has approached Ms Allan for comment.