Reality, nudity, sovereign citizens


A little “parking,” running is good exercise 

Ah, youth. 

While many 20th century traditions seem to be fading into obscurity, it’s good to see at least one is still being honored by kids today: finding a quiet place to take your date for an evening spent in the sweaty, passionate throes of “parking.”

It was just a few minutes after 11 p.m. on March 19 (a Friday night, for those who care) when a Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted a “suspicious” white Chrysler 300 parked on Mayfield Avenue in the South Knox community of Vestal. According to the police report filed afterward, at least part of what made the vehicle stand out were the “two individuals in the back passenger seat who were partially unclothed.”

The male half of the couple stepped from the car when he saw the officer. For his part, the cop asked him if the young lady was, y’know, decent and, if not, could she maybe possibly get out of the car when she was fully clothed? 

The young man’s response was apparently lost in the confusion that immediately followed when the officer (for reasons unexplained in the report) opened the driver’s side door and promptly noticed two things. The first thing to come to his attention was the powerful vegetal smell of the car’s interior — the Chrysler positively reeked of marijuana, and it was immediately clear why when he noticed the second thing, namely a large baggie containing nearly two ounces of pot sitting in the passenger’s seat. 

As you can imagine, things escalated from “This will make a mildly amusing story one day” to “Get ready to feel my steely handcuffs of Justice!” in no time flat. Which was almost exactly how much time it took the young gentleman to haul ass from the scene, run down Maryville Pike and then vanish into the woods in Mary Vestal Park. A second deputy and his K-9 partner soon showed up, but an extensive search of the area failed to turn up any trace of the guy. Not that it really mattered, of course, as the cops had the car, the weed and the girl. All of which was soon  turned into a torrent of information including his name, age, address and (presumably) condom size.

Speaking of the young lady, she turned out to be all of 18 years old and claimed that “she just met the suspect and only knew his first name.” The cops let her go and instead focused on inventorying the 54.3 grams of pot, the scale, and the “baggies used for resale” they found in the car along with “a glass bowl pipe with marijuana residue.”

The bag of weed was put in a drug locker at the county jail, the car was towed and arrest warrants were filed for the young gentleman. The fate of the glass pipe was unknown.

Sovereign Citizen vs. Reality; Reality Wins

A Tales of the Scruffy City standardized police report, designed to help interpret those  certain “special” reports that are filed every now and then by local law enforcement….

The time: 11:21 p.m. March 18

The location: 6800 block of Central Avenue 

The suspect: 22-year-old male “sovereign citizen”

The vehicle: none, thank God 

The offense: Acting so suspicious that even an ACLU lawyer would have stopped, pulled a gun, and said, “Damn, dude, you look suspicious!” 

The victim: “Society/Society” (age and sex both marked “U”, while fields for address and other personal information are left blank)

Arrestee (s):  the aforementioned suspect

Quote: “The arrestee stated that he was a sovereign citizen and that he did not have a name. The arrestee also stated that he was very high on a unknown narcotic.”

Contraband: 63 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in a large plastic bag: one digital scale; one modified flare gun loaded with a modified 12-gauge shotgun shell (yes, you read that correctly)

Criminal charge(s): felony possession of schedule VI drugs in a school zone; possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; resisting arrest. 

Actual narrative (quoted directly from police report): “Officers  noticed a suspicious male walking in the middle of the road beside 6802 Central Avenue. Officers then observed the arrestee walk around the gas pumps stumbling and talking to himself and continued across the street to another set of businesses that were closed. 

“Upon making contact with the arrestee he stated he was just getting something to eat and refused to identify himself to officers. 

“The arrestee stated that he was a sovereign citizen and that he did not have a name. 

“The arrestee also stated that he was very high on a unknown narcotic. 

“The arrestee attempted to walk around the parking lot to get away from officers and was getting agitated. 

“Upon attempting to place the arrestee in handcuffs he attempted to pull his arms away and grab his cell phone. Officers took physical control of the arrestee and placed him in handcuffs. 

“A search of the arrestee revealed 63 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in a large plastic bag, a digital scale, and a modified/loaded Orian (sic) Flare Gun. 

“The flare gun was loaded with a modified 12 gauge shotgun shell that was cut in half and filled with wax to keep the shot inside at the tip of the shell. 

“The arrestee did have the above listed items within 1000 feet of a school zone (New Covenant Fellowship Pre-school).”

While sitting handcuffed in the back of the cruiser, the “sovereign citizen” began to have seizures and was taken to a local hospital where “he was hard to understand at times and was having conversations with himself and yelling at people.”

We’re not prophets, of course, so we can’t claim to know what would have happened if the cops hadn’t tagged this guy when they did. We’re confident, however, that no good would have come from his late night quest for munchies. So-called “sovereign citizens” are generally known as being tremendous pains in the ass to law enforcement officers and occasionally have shown extreme hostility toward federal buildings. The fact he was so blasted that going out in public while armed with some half-baked flare gun contraption seemed reasonable to him is more than enough reason to conclude that a Darwin Award was the best case scenario had the Law not intervened. 

Alternative Scruffy narrative: We’ve got nothing that’ll do justice to the actual, unadorned police report this time.

Please give Reality a round of applause as you leave.

Tales of the Scruffy City is compiled from public records provided on request by the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and other government agencies. We do not identify the citizens who appear in these reports in order to protect their privacy. Many of those who appear in police reports are guilty of nothing more than having a bad day, while even those who are formally accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Tales of the Scruffy City is Copyright 2021 by Hard Knox Wire.

J.J. Stambaugh may be reached at 

Published on April 8, 2021