According to reports, two women were arrested for impersonating Sarasota law enforcement and livestreaming a fraudulent traffic stop. Authorities apprehended 28-year-old Jymieka McDowell and 39-year-old Ryshawnna Poole, who have apparently staged this act before.
Around 1 AM Sunday, police received a call about a suspicious incident. The caller told dispatch they believed a Sarasota Police Department officer was in distress. While searching the area, instead of finding officers in distress, cops found McDowell and Poole attempting to pull over another vehicle.
Police say the two women were in a car with red and blue lights in the windshield and a siren. They were subsequently taken into custody on charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer and false imprisonment, in addition to several unrelated charges.
Upon further investigation, SPD found the women livestreamed the fake traffic stop where they used derogatory language and made threatening statements at the motorist. Investigators say the victims inside the stopped vehicle did not know either Poole or McDowell.
The women can be heard telling the victims, “driver, exit the vehicle,” “put your ******* hands up driver,” “I need everyone to exit the ******* car,” “do not make a move,” “Black lives don’t ******* matter,” and “anybody move and I will shoot.”
“This wasn’t Sarasota police officers pulling over a car,” said Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. “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.”