A man was arrested for impersonating a police officer in downtown Washington DC on Tuesday two miles north of the US Capitol, DC police said, according to local NBC affiliate WUSA.
An MPD officer spotted the man driving an unmarked black Jeep Cherokee and using “red and blue emergency [lights]” that he was flashing at “passing vehicles”, at around 5:45 p.m. in the 1700 block of 14th Street Northwest. When the officer activated his flashing lights, the driver turned his off, and pulled over for a traffic stop.
DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) said that the suspect, identified as 58-year-old Barry Newman, was in plain clothes but wearing a “police duty belt,” a commemorative MPD badge from the inauguration of former President George W Bush, as well as chemical spray, handcuffs, and a baton, the WUSA reported, citing the arrest record.
He was described as a licensed Special Police Officer (SPO) under DC law, but such individuals are not authorized to conduct law enforcement activity without assignment and there was no indication that he was employed or contracted by any law enforcement agency.
The Washington DC SPO program allows individuals to be licensed by the city to carry a weapon in the District; the program applies to people who volunteer or are contracted to work with law enforcement, as well as others in the private sector including security guards.
According to the report, Newman was held in custody on Tuesday on charges of false impersonation of a police officer as well as possession of a prohibited weapon.