A man authorities believed was impersonating an officer when he made a traffic stop on I-575 in a “Punisher” T-shirt was actually an off-duty deputy from another jurisdiction, Cherokee County officials said Tuesday.
The Barrow County deputy, whose name was not released, stopped a woman for impeding the flow of traffic Sunday night, sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley said.
Though he did identify himself as a deputy and wore a badge, the woman was unsure because he was wearing dark-colored, fatigue-style pants with a black T-shirt with a “Punisher” emblem on the front. The “Punisher” is a Marvel Comics character who has been portrayed in movies and on television.
When the deputy stopped the woman, he was driving a Dodge Ram truck with blue lights.
“We have advised and trained our employees that if they have to make a traffic stop due to the reckless nature of the driver while on/off duty driving their unmarked unit that they call dispatch or call out on the radio and advise of the traffic stop,” Kelley said.
Cherokee County deputies are not encouraged to make traffic stops when off duty, Sheriff Frank Reynolds told Channel 2 Action News, but he wants to be notified.
“I think our citizens in our community want to know if this is truly a police officer,” Reynolds said. “We have a lot of incidents that occur throughout the U.S. regarding people pretending to be police officers. We don't want to violate that trust."
The Cherokee County and Barrow County sheriff’s offices are not investigating the incident as a criminal matter.
Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.