FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

Va. Court: Impersonating An Officer Is Not Protected Speech

August 15, 2012  | 

A Virginia appellate court has ruled that the state's law against impersonating a police officer is constitutional, a ruling that countered the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision that lying about being a war hero is protected speech.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a 2-1 ruling on Tuesday.

The ruling stemmed from a case brought by Douglas Chappell, who was stopped for speeding in October 2009 by a U.S. Park Police officer on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Chappell told the officer he was a deputy with the Fairfax County (Va.) Sheriff's Office.

Chappell had argued the Virginia statute "criminalizes the behavior of adults who attend costume parties dressed as a police officer, children playing cops and robbers, and actors portraying law enforcement officials."

In his majority opinion, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III called Chappell's argument ludicrous, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Tags: First Amendment, U.S. Park Police, Police Impostors, Federal Appellate Courts


Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

TripWire @ 8/16/2012 6:30 PM

I don't think there are any problems of little kids in costume getting arrested. I don't think that I am the only one that is glad they kept this pandoras box closed. Now it they will take a second look at the Stolen Valor Act all will be well.

ChiefJohn @ 8/17/2012 5:28 AM

My 4 yr old grandson dressing up as a police officer vs. a 35 year old idiot playing dress up and pulling women over. Thats quite a difference! The guy is missing a few fries in his happy meal.

FedCop @ 8/17/2012 5:42 AM

As someone who works in VA, I am glad to see that the courts have shown that common sense prevails.

MikeAT @ 8/19/2012 4:49 PM

In Texas the law is simple. Wearing a police uniform or something resembling it is not illegal. When you start presenting yourself as a cop or using police authority, then it becomes a problem.

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Teen Convicted of Killing Off-Duty Texas Officer
The jury deliberated for about five hours Monday before finding 19-year-old Juan Antonio...
Texas Cop Killer Gets Death Penalty
A jury has decided the punishment for the man convicted of killing a Bellaire, Texas,...
Bratton Asks New Yorkers to Stop Interfering with Arrests
"There is no denying on the videos which have surfaced . . . what is seen is interference...
Video: Illinois Officer Fired for Shooting Little Girl's Dog
A police officer in Hometown, Ill., has been fired days after fatally shooting a dog in...
Video: Nevada Officer Stabbed, Suspect Killed
The officers and the man got into a confrontation and the man stabbed one of the officers...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine