When a Massachusetts man had his Maserati decaled to resemble Barricade from the Transformers movie, he certainly never thought he would have to defend himself against charges of impersonating a police officer, but that is exactly what happened. Three Braintree Police Department officers pulled over, 23-year old Zhang Zhijun, on August 9th, when they spotted the vehicle, and were not quite sure what to do, apparently, says Zhijun’s defense attorney, Russell Watson. The officers consulted with their Lieutenant, Officer Blake Holt, and then issued a summons for Zhijun to appear in court on charges of impersonating a police officer.
Watson argued in court that Zhijun’s car did not have flashing blue lights, and Zhijun never attempted to pull anyone over pretending to be a police officer. Watson pointed out that Zhijun never carried a gun or dressed as a police officer. In addition, the statute for impersonating a police officer explicitly states that in order to charge someone with impersonating a police officer, that person must “act” like a police officer, or “aid or assist … in a manner pertaining to the duty” of a police officer.
Quincy District Court agreed with Watson and dismissed all charges against Zhijun on September 4th, stating that “dress up” is not impersonation. I tend to agree. While I support our local Police and the hard work they do, Lt. Holt made a bad decision in this case.