It appears that a Massachusetts man has been arrested for impersonating a transformer. Barricade (an evil Decepticon) to be exact. The driver had his Maserati “dipped” to resemble the character and was pulled over in Braintree, Massachusetts. His car has the words “Decepticons punish and enslave” painted along the side. It is not clear if the officer was a Decepticon or just a clueless deputy. He faces fines of $1000 or more, probation or, in the most extreme cases, up to five years in jail for impersonating an officer.
The driver (whose name has not been released) was not arrested but later charged and summoned to court.
The driver is in his 20s and a University of Massachusetts-Amherst graduate . . . and obviously a Transformers fan.
He was pulled over by Officer Blake Holt of the Braintree Police on August 9 and later charged with impersonating a police officer. It did not likely help that, when he was pulled over, he allegedly told the officer that he was doing the police a service “because other drivers noticed him and slowed down, thinking it was a police vehicle.” That might be seen as an admission against interest, counselor.
It is not clear how the identification with an evil Decepticon might prejudice a more Optimus Prime jury. He may want to use the closing argument of Optimus Prime “We live among its people now, hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret, waiting, protecting. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye.”
The charge is clearly meritless, even with the driver’s ill-considered alleged statement to the officer. There are strong first amendment claims as well as challenges on the constitutionality of the law as applied. Citizens are allowed to drive cars built to resemble any number of items or movies from hot dogs to Ghostbusters.
The actual statutory provision states:
609.475 IMPERSONATING OFFICER.
Whoever falsely impersonates a police or military officer or public official with intent to mislead another into believing that the impersonator is actually such officer or official is guilty of a misdemeanor.
History: 1963 c 753 art 1 s 609.475; 1971 c 23 s 49; 1986 c 444
Here the defendant clearly lacked intent to impersonate a police officer. He wants to be a transformer. In the end, it was the police who most resembled Barricade who always insisted : “I’m always the Bad Cop. And don’t bother asking for the Good Cop. I killed him.”
Putting aside the legal niceties, I would simply not mess with Barricade without a stronger case of probable cause:
Kudos: Michael Blott