PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pinellas County deputy sitting on the side of U.S. 19 in Clearwater caught a fake cop in the act.
The deputy noticed a 2011 orange Chevy Camaro with blue and red lights pull behind another car on the highway. According to the arrest report, the driver of the Camaro signals the other driver to pull over. That driver complies and then the Camaro passes, still with its red and blue lights flashing.
The deputy pulled the Camaro over and arrested the driver, 18-year-old Abdulelah Jamal Arnous, and charged him with falsely personating an officer. He was booked into the county jail and deputies released him after he posted a $5,000 bond.
The arrest report indicates that after Arnous was taken into custody he admitted to “pulling over” citizens and admitted he was aware he was pretending to be a law enforcement officer.
A crew from 8 On Your Side went to Arnous’ Clearwater apartment, he claims he only pulled that one car over and says he is sorry.
“And I apologize about it,” said Arnous. “I just apologized. It is what it is, bro. “
But deputies say when citizens decide to play “cop” it creates a distrust. Corporal Chuck Skipper with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office understands that first hand.
“For many years I was in traffic and in fact, I drove an unmarked pickup truck,” said Corporal Skipper. “So I can understand the concern of citizens when there is an unmarked vehicle with blue and red lights.”
Skipper has this advice for anyone who’s questioning a traffic stop. First and foremost, pull over in a well lit, well populated area if at all possible. If you’re not in a position to do that, call 911 and verify the vehicle that is attempting to pull you over is in fact a law enforcement vehicle. You should also slow down and put on a signal or flashers to let the officer know you are not trying to get away.