“I believe there’s probably hundreds of victims who were actually detained and didn’t have good experiences with these folks.” – Kevin Shanlian
By Dominic Adams, mLive.com
FLINT, MI — A group of wannabe cops has been fooling police, firefighters and the public for years across Genesee County, according to law enforcement officials. Now they are facing felony charges.
The group is accused of conducting false arrests of individuals they accused of committing crimes and even tricking real emergency responders at crime scenes.
“We believe that on some occasions, they were the first to show up on crime scenes,” said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton. “On some occasions, the real police would ask them to perform tasks at the scene, not realizing they were imposters.”
A group of people calling themselves the Genesee County Fire and EMS Media-Genesee County Task Force Blight Agency has been acting as police at locations that include county parks, house fires, vehicle crashes and other crime scenes, according to Kevin Shanlian, chief of the Genesee County Parks ranger division.
An investigation into the group was launched after Shanlian received a call about a complaint of rude rangers at Stepping Stone Falls and Picnic area in Genesee on Sept. 21, 2017. He investigated the incident because the victims thought they were being mistreated by park rangers, but Shanlian soon learned the victims were actually dealing with the fake cops.
Ultimately, the investigation led to Leyton filing criminal charges.
Leyton authorized charges against three people on Wednesday, May 30, that include three counts of unlawful imprisonment and one count of impersonating a peace officer to commit a crime. Emily Nicole Burrison, 27, of Burton, and Jeffrey Lee Jones, 29, of Flint, were arraigned on the charges Thursday, May 31, before Genesee District Judge David Goggins.
A third Flint man was charged in connection with the case and he was taken into custody while working at Cedar Point in Ohio. Investigators said he is being held at the Erie County Jail while awaiting extradition to Genesee County for arraignment on the charges. Court records indicate there are five other co-defendants in the case, however, charges have not yet been filed against them. (More…)