Driver Arrested for Impersonating Cop

In South Florida, the roads are a lawless morass where turn signals are optional and drivers seek a blood vendetta against anyone who tailgates too closely. People are stalked, shot, and killed. By now, Floridians know to toot their horn at their own risk because from the rear-view mirror, it's hard to distinguish the types who will whip out a semiautomatic from the ones who will just flip you the bird as they speed away.

And then there are the types who will pretend to be cops to lure you off the road.

Just before midnight on Saturday January 11, Abdul Asquith was driving down Old Dixie Highway near Hood Road in Palm Beach Gardens when, from a car driving alongside him, "a subject allegedly claimed to be a law enforcement officer and brandished a badge causing the victim to pull over," a police report states. The 25-year-old Asquith told Palm Beach Gardens Police that the badge was "star-shaped and inside a leather flip wallet." He described the gun as a "semi-automatic handgun with a shiny front."

Asquith said he had pulled over but just didn't feel right about the situation; the other driver seemed young and was driving a black Ford Fusion instead of a marked patrol car. So he took down the mystery officer's tag and called police (the real ones) from inside Frenchman's Crossing Plaza. That's when the other driver in the black Ford Fusion sped off (going west on Hood Road's eastbound lanes).

Police ran the tag and found that the car belonged to 19-year-old Brandon Taylor. When police questioned Taylor, he claimed the incident was instigated by Asquith, who complained at a traffic light about his speeding and followed him.

When cops searched Taylor's room and car, they didn't find any fake badge or the semiautomatic that Asquith described.

The cop stated in the report that "upon initial contact with Taylor his state-issued security ID was in his front breast pocket of his shirt away from all other cards or identifications for which he could not give a reasonable explanation." It is unclear exactly what type of state-issued security ID Taylor had or if this is what he flashed to Asquith on the road.

After Asquith positively identified him, Taylor was arrested and charged with falsely impersonating an officer and display of a weapon while impersonating an officer. His bond was set at $10,500. On January 17, his license was suspended.

Asquith completed a sworn written statement and advised he wished to prosecute. In an email to New Times, Asquith confirmed the events but explained he would rather not comment on them at this time.

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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson