Impersonating an idiot

A while back, when the Ryan Frederick saga was still playing out, one of the common arguments made by those supporting the Police State was that no one should shoot at people breaking down their door if the intruders are screaming that they are Police Officers.

In order to counter this ridiculous proposition, I set up a “Google News Alert” for police impostors in order to find stories of home invaders posing as police as they break down doors.

It actually happens fairly often and I’ve collected a pretty good number of stories about just such incidents, some even happening in the local area.

I still have that news alert set up and today this interesting story popped up:

While on patrol at 11:36 p.m. Tuesday, an officer reported seeing a bicyclist swerving, “all over the road,” Texas City police Sgt. Joe Stanton said.

The man, 20, was wearing a police jacket with a patch that read, “The Colony Police Department,” Stanton said.

The Colony Police Chief Joe Clark viewed an e-mail picture of the jacket and patch and said it had been standard issue to police dispatchers and last issued a decade ago.

“Whoever they’re dealing with got it from a Goodwill down there,” Clark said, noting the jacket had a chest patch that said communications on the coat. [emphasis added]

The man was charged with two misdemeanors, public intoxication and false identification as a peace officer-misrepresentation of property, Stanton said.

So, apparently in Texas, having the audacity to wear something that even HINTS of being an employee of the police department is enough for a charge of “false identification as a peace officer”, even if no claims were made and the patch even said “communications” on it.

I have a feeling that charge will be dropped, but just the fact that they charged him is enough for me to file this under “Police State”.

I have a T-shirt with a Border patrol emblem on the front that I got while I was working for a contractor that was installing the surveillance systems on the border. The border patrol themselves sold it to me for $20 IIRC. They also had hats, sweat shirts and other items for sale with the border patrol emblem on them.

Am I impersonating a police officer when I wear that shirt? I guess if I ever go to Texas again, I’ll leave it at home just in case.

4 thoughts on “Impersonating an idiot

  1. That's crazy… Unless someone is actually trying to give the impression that they are a peace officer, either actively or passively, filing charges for this just smells like fishing for whatever they could charge him with.

    I see caps and shirts all the time with FBI on them. I guess they think that if I wear one I'm guilty of impersonating a federal agent.

    On a side note, its interesting that the jacket made it into the thrift stores with patches/logos intact to begin with. When we get new uniform shirts or caps, we have to either turn the old ones in or at least cut the patches off and return them. Idea being, of course, to keep someone from using the "I'm a City Employee" scam to get into someone's house.

  2. I guess I should get rid of that NYPD stuff I bought after 9/11 from the NYPD. Or for that matter any of my USCG things. Should I burn them or bury them? Wouldn't want anyone to get a hold of it and then get in trouble

  3. I actually looked up what the New York laws regarding "impersonation" are, as it came up on a discussion forum the other day.

    Up here, it's considered to be impersonation if you dress in a way that makes others believe you are a police (or any other agency) officer, even if you don't identify yourself as such. It has some pretty loose wording, IMHO, so if you're wearing a sweatshirt from a police unit you've got friends in, or a Border Patrol agency that you've worked with, it could get you arrested and charged. I don't think it's likely unless they're already going after you for something else, but technically, they could.

    One of the civilian gate guards sent the MPs after us over Thanksgiving because he believed our vehicle was falsely marked as a military vehicle. Because, you know, the Army now drives lime green Jeep Wranglers. With Virginia plates. Jackass.

  4. ohkay, so i was at school today and wearing my boyfriends sweatshirt . so the principal comes up to him and said that i did a false identity. i wasnt trying to be my boyfriend, or gaining any benefits or harming the article of clothing. is the principal wrong or it actually an identy problem.

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