MNPD negotiates with ‘sovereign citizen’ who is “provoking his 5th amendment right” for 35 minutes before it ends badly for him.

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Metro Nashville police encountered sovereign citizen Devin Chesser on May 6th during a traffic stop. The man refused all requests, including rolling down his window, providing identification, or even speaking to them. A Sergeant arrived and negotiated with him for 35 minutes, while parked in a lane of traffic. He was eventually extracted from the vehicle by force.

Metro Police first noticed the vehicle driven by Chesser on Rosa Parks, near Broadway, as the headlights were not on, and it was 2 a.m. last Monday morning. Officers caught up with the vehicle at Broadway and 13th Ave, and gave commands over the loudspeaker for the driver to pull the vehicle to the right. The driver, Chessner, ignored the commands, and merged to the left, into the turn lane onto 14th Ave, at which time the driver stopped in a lane of traffic on 14th Ave S.

The windows were tinted so darkly, and the lights were still not illuminated, that police knocked on the rear windows and ask the driver down the windows to the second row of seating. The driver refused to comply, however a passenger reached over him and rolled down the window, and it was cleared by officers. They then moved to the driver’s window, which he also refused to roll down. Once again, the passenger reached over him and lowered the window to the driver’s side of the vehicle. At this point, officers identified themselves, and explained the reason for the stop was the lack of headlights being used. The driver remained silent, still refusing to speak to, or even acknowledge the presence of the police officers.

Devin Chesser (MNPD)

Eventually, Devin Chesser told officers he was “traveling” and did not have to identify himself. Officers called for Sgt. Dooley to respond to the scene, who also explained the situation to the driver, and according to the police report, negotiated with Devin Chesser for 35 minutes, from 2:20 a.m. until 2:55 a.m. to identify himself, in an effort to end the stop and let everyone carry on about their night. Chesser told Sgt. Dooley:

“I am a traveler, and I’m provoking[sic] my 5th amendment right”.

-Arrest warrant for Devin Chesser / GS888412

After 35 minutes of roadside negotiation with multiple officers and a Sergeant, the decision was made to extract the man from his vehicle by force. Officers grabbed his wrists, unbuckling him via the passenger side door, and brought him out of the drivers door. A search incident to arrest revealed a TN DL in his wallet, which returned as suspended. Chesser, of Antioch, was charged with operating a motor vehicle without a license, possession of a suspended license, and a vehicle lights violation. Chesser is free on a $2,000 bond, with a June court date.

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