Florida women arrested for impersonating officers after livestreaming phony traffic stop, police say

Police: Women arrested for impersonating officers after livestreaming fake traffic stop

SARASOTA, Fla. — Two Florida women were arrested Sunday after pretending to be police officers and livestreaming a phony traffic stop, investigators said.

Sarasota police were called around 1 a.m. from a witness who thought was an officer in distress, WFLA reported.

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But there was no officer in distress. Instead, responding officers searched the area and found Jymieka McDowell, 28, and Ryshawnna Poole, 39, attempting to pull over another vehicle. Their car had flashing lights and a siren.

McDowell, the driver, and Poole, the passenger, had earlier livestreamed the fake traffic stop, using expletive-laden language and threatening the occupants, investigators said.

McDowell and Poole can be heard saying, “put your (expletive) hands up, driver,” “I need everyone to exit the (expletive) car,” “Black lives don’t (expletive) matter,” and “anybody move and I will shoot.”

The people in the car did not know McDowell or Poole, police said.

McDowell and Poole were arrested and charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and false imprisonment.

Investigators said it’s not the first time the women have done this and are asking for other possible victims to come forward.

“This wasn’t Sarasota police officers pulling over a car. These were people who were pretending to be law enforcement officers and putting fear into innocent victims and residents of our community,” Chief Bernadette DiPino said in a release. “If you ever suspect if someone is pulling you over that you feel isn’t a law enforcement officer, call 911 to validate the traffic stop.”

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Posted by Sarasota Police Department on Sunday, January 24, 2021