Quantcast

New law sends posers to the pokey

It may be hard to believe, but in New York State, if you impersonate a cop it’s a felony - while if you impersonate an FBI agent it’s only a misdemeanor.
That loophole in state law is closing now that Governor David Paterson signed a bill which adds “federal law enforcement officer” to the Criminal Impersonation statute.
Up until now, the law said it was a felony to impersonate a “police officer,” narrowly defined as a municipal or state law enforcement agent.
In 2004, a man entered a business displaying a shield and identification card indicating that he was a federal officer. Once inside he assaulted a woman and stated to others in the establishment, “Back up, I’m a cop.” When the offender was arrested, he was in possession of a photo ID from the Federal Officers Police Foundation and was charged with Criminal Impersonation in the first degree.
The charge was lowered to a misdemeanor because the witnesses believed the offender was a federal officer and not a local police officer. Instead of a possible four-year prison sentence, he was only subject to a year in jail.
The Senate version of the bill passed there unanimously twice before, only to die in the Assembly.

More from Around New York