by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:
TEMPLE, Ga.,None - A local police chief feels he and his family are being threatened by a so-called
"sovereign citizen," he told Channel Action News reporter Manuel Bojorquez.
"It's a mess. It's a nightmare," Timothy Shaw, chief of the Temple Police Department in Carroll County, said about his ordeal that started when one of his officers cited a man for driving without a seat belt in November.
At a hearing for the citation, the chief said the man declared the laws do not apply to him, Shaw said.
"He was very disruptive in court in front of the
judge," Shaw said.
He said the man, whose name is being withheld by the department because the case is ongoing, wanted the case to go to state
The chief admitted to using strong language as he ordered the man to leave the courtroom.
"I told him to get the hell out of the courtroom, because he had been so disruptive. My job is to protect the integrity of the court and protect the judge," Shaw said.
Shaw received a letter from the man demanding nearly $800,000, alleging police brutality.
Shaw said he told the man to take any complaints to the Sheriff's Office, to avoid bias. The chief said he never touched the man and was cleared of wrongdoing by an internal
investigation, but the letters kept coming, and the third letter shocked him.
"I received Mapquest driving directions that he had pulled up, from his personal residence to my personal residence. Also his personal residence to my mother and father's personal residence in Florida," Shaw said.
The situation was enough for a Carroll County judge to issue a protective order on behalf of the chief and his family.
But three Temple police officers
said the man has also approached them while they're on the job, holding a video camera and asking questions.
"It feels like a challenge," said Officer Dana Rampy. "That he's trying to get us to become aggravated or to say something that he would feel is illegal."
Shaw took the case to the FBI, and said he discovered the law does protect federal officers and members of the judiciary from frivolous legal motions, and harassment.
But he says Georgia law does not provide the same protection for state and local officers.
He's currently working with lawmakers to draft legislation addressing issues related to the sovereign citizen movement, which has recently gained traction and made headlines as members across the country claimed certain laws did not apply to them as they took over foreclosed properties.
"When you become a product of it, it changes the whole name of the game," Shaw said.
He's already scheduled to meet with one lawmaker Tuesday morning.