Two arrested and accused of pretending to be officers and conducting a traffic stop Sunday in Sarasota

Two arrested and accused of pretending to be officers and conducting a traffic stop Sunday in Sarasota
WWSB Generic Stock 6 (Source: WWSB-ABC7)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Representatives with the Sarasota Police Department say they’ve arrested two people accused of impersonating law enforcement and conducting a fake traffic stop.

In a release sent by SPD, detectives say 28-year-old Jymieka McDowell and 39-year-old Ryshawnna Poole were arrested after midnight on Sunday and accused of pretending to be officers. Police believe this has happened before and are asking potential victims to come forward.

Police says they responded to the 1200 block of 31st street around 1am on Sunday after they received a call from someone who believed a Sarasota officer was in distress. When they arrived no officer was found however officers found a car attempting to stop another car near Cocoanut and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. The car, according to police, had red and blue lights in the windshield and a siren. Police say they were able to make contact with the driver and passenger of the car attempting to make the stop, McDowell and Poole. Both suspects are at the county jail on unrelated charges and are facing charges for impersonating a law enforcement officer and false imprisonment.

Police say Poole and McDowell are accused of streaming the fake traffic stop on their social media. In a new release sent to ABC7 police say both suspects accused are seen in a video ordering a driver to get out of their car and put their hands up and are then accused of saying “black lives don’t f****ng matter” and “nobody move and I will shoot.”

In the release, Chief of Police Bernadette DiPino confirmed the suspects were not 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.  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,” said Chief DiPino.

If you have any information on this situation or were stopped by either of the suspects you’re asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 941-263-6070.

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