VISALIA, Calif. - Using his own red light, a Tulare man reportedly tried to pull a car over. Unfortunately for him, the driver in that car was an off-duty Visalia cop.
Brandon Freeman, 29, was arrested and charged Monday night with impersonating an officer. He also was charged with forgery after police found some fake documents in his car.
Sgt. Damon Maurice, public information officer for Visalia Police, said the off-duty officer noticed a flashing red light behind him as he approached Cartmill Avenue and Mooney Boulevard near Tulare.
Maurice said the cop knew from the get-go it had to be a hoax, since the light isn't a standard for cop cars.
"It was some type of after market light you could purchase through various online outlets. [Freeman] had it inside of his vehicle and perched it inside for the driver in front of him to see," he said.
The officer led Freeman closer to Visalia, while informing other officers about the imposter. Soon, Freeman found himself surrounded by multiple police cars.
"We have no reports of the suspect or anybody else recently doing this type of activity," Maurice said. "We've had no previous contact with this person before."
State law requires all drivers to pull over when they see emergency lights. While the chance of an imposter pulling you over is slim -- if you question it, you can ask to verify a real cop pulled you over.
"[Drivers] can ask for a proper identification from the person who's approaching their vehicle," Maurice said. "If they have any questions at all, probably the best and safest thing is to call the local jurisdiction to verify."
Freeman did have another person in his car. That person was also arrested for having outstanding felony warrants.
Freeman's charges are both misdemeanors.