Police: Burrillville man impersonated officer out of concern over COVID-19


BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A Burrillville man was charged with impersonating a police officer after he stopped an out-of-state driver in his personal vehicle because he was concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

According to police reports obtained by Eyewitness News, Brett Hopkins, 25, of Burrillville, conducted the traffic stop back in March on Buck Hill Road using his car with emergency lights on the roof. Buck Hill Road runs through both Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The redacted police report says a woman who was on her way to work crossed into Rhode Island from Connecticut. The woman told officers a car with red and blue emergency lights pulled her over and asked where she was going.

At the time, Gov. Gina Raimondo said out-of-state drivers would get stopped at the state’s border and would be told to quarantine. Because of this, the report says the victim thought it was the reason she was pulled over.

Hopkins was wearing a blue uniform with a badge, the report says. After the victim stated she was on her way to work at a hospital in Rhode Island, Hopkins asked for proof.

While she was searching for her identification, the report says Hopkins asked her “how are you essential if you are not in scrubs?”

After she showed identification, the woman was then told by Hopkins to “have a good day.” He then walked back to his vehicle, according to police.

Days later, a similar vehicle with emergency lights was spotted on Croft Road by police. The report says the driver, later identified as Hopkins, was wearing a tactical vest.

When police questioned Hopkins, he claimed he works in security in Massachusetts and was on his way home.

The report says Hopkins told police he was “concerned about the spread of the coronavirus” and was gathering information to hand over to police.

Police say Hopkins posted bail and will be in court at a later date.

A man identifying himself as Brett Hopkins contacted Eyewitness News saying he is innocent of the charge.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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