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Wannabe cop pulls over seven North County drivers

Including – oops – family friend

Michael Carmichael at arraignment. “He is trying to be perceived as a police officer and making traffic stops.”
Michael Carmichael at arraignment. “He is trying to be perceived as a police officer and making traffic stops.”

A 21-year-old man had his 18-year-old girlfriend in his car when he pretended to be a policeman and pulled over another car last week, according to a San Diego County prosecutor who spoke in court at his arraignment, Wednesday, June 15.

A genuine Sheriff’s deputy saw the 2009 silver Toyota Camry with a blue and red lightbar in its front windshield, when he drove up on the scene in Fallbrook about 2 a.m., the early morning of Monday, June 13.

When the Sheriff’s cruiser arrived, the fake deputy walked back to his own car and took off at “high speed,” according to prosecutor Daniel Gochnour, who spoke to a judge while arguing for high bail. He said it was a “short pursuit,” after the suspect made an illegal U-turn, he turned off all his lights and soon smashed his car into a tree.

Other deputies who arrived helped to pull Michael Anthony Carmichael, 21, and his 18-year-old female friend from the burning vehicle, Gochnour said. There is cop body-worn-camera video as evidence in this case, the prosecutor said.

At the scene, officers were able to collect a black polo shirt with San Diego County Sheriff patches on the shoulders, a gun belt, a “replica firearm pellet gun,” a tactical vest with SHERIFF written on it, metal knuckles, and two expandable batons, according to the prosecutor.

Police collected a black polo shirt with San Diego County Sheriff patches on the shoulders.

When investigators served a search warrant at Carmichael’s home in the neighboring community of Oceanside, they allegedly found other replica police gear. This included a Glock 17 with “attachments” on it, a spot light, a holster, a police duty belt, a Condor tactical vest with POLICE on the front and back, a field notebook, a replica vest, a handcuff key, a six point badge, a glass-breaker attached to the vest, and a bodyworn camera attached to the vest.

Prosecutor Gochnour said, “He is trying to be percived as a police officer and making traffic stops.”

“The first instance was in mid-May,” Gochnour said. A woman was driving when she saw a vehicle driving behind her with a red-and-blue light bar, and she was concerned because she saw it was a Toyota Camry and she was afraid to pull over, so she phoned police while she was still driving, the prosecutor said.

The police dispatcher told her to keep driving and not to pull over until she felt it was safe, and the woman continued driving until that Toyota stopped following her. The prosecutor said that incident has not been charged in the current criminal complaint, but the investigation continues.

The M.O. is similar: the pretender pulls people over, scolds them for their perceived bad driving and then lets them go with a warning.

Another incident occurred on May 23, when another woman was driving and she was pulled over by a Toyota Camry with red and blue lights in it; after she stopped, she recognized the man who was approaching was a family friend, and he suddenly drove off at that point, prosecutor Gochnour said.

There are at least six additional instances with the same behavior, but they are not currently charged because those reports are not completed yet, according to the prosecutor. Gochnour said the M.O. is similar: the pretender pulls people over, he scolds them for their perceived bad driving and then he lets them go with a warning. “And that’s what happened on this June 13 incident, when sheriffs actually intercepted this incident in progress,” Gochnour said.

“Seven of the nine individuals were male,” the prosecutor said, “There seems to be no sexual motive.”

Michael Anthony Carmichael, 21, currently pleads not-guilty to five felonies.

Judge Laura Duffy sounded incredulous when she learned that Michael Anthony Carmichael was currently on probation for the same offense.

Judge Laura Duffy sounded incredulous when she learned that Michael Anthony Carmichael was currently on probation for the same offense, when he allegedly committed the new offenses. Court records show that Carmichael admitted impersonating a peace officer as a misdemeanor in August, 2021, in a plea deal in which he was immediately released.

The public defender told the judge that “He is not currently employed, he is actively looking for work,” and he does not have money for bail, so the defender asked for Carmichael to be released on his own recognizance.

The judge found that Carmichael is a danger to the community and a flight risk because he fled officers, and set his bail at $170,000.

The court ordered that if Carmichael is able to post bail that he should seek mental health treatment addressing his “issues” that he needs to pretend he is a law enforcement officer. The judge said that he may be released into a residential treatment, mental health facility. And he is forbidden to drive.

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Michael Carmichael at arraignment. “He is trying to be perceived as a police officer and making traffic stops.”
Michael Carmichael at arraignment. “He is trying to be perceived as a police officer and making traffic stops.”

A 21-year-old man had his 18-year-old girlfriend in his car when he pretended to be a policeman and pulled over another car last week, according to a San Diego County prosecutor who spoke in court at his arraignment, Wednesday, June 15.

A genuine Sheriff’s deputy saw the 2009 silver Toyota Camry with a blue and red lightbar in its front windshield, when he drove up on the scene in Fallbrook about 2 a.m., the early morning of Monday, June 13.

When the Sheriff’s cruiser arrived, the fake deputy walked back to his own car and took off at “high speed,” according to prosecutor Daniel Gochnour, who spoke to a judge while arguing for high bail. He said it was a “short pursuit,” after the suspect made an illegal U-turn, he turned off all his lights and soon smashed his car into a tree.

Other deputies who arrived helped to pull Michael Anthony Carmichael, 21, and his 18-year-old female friend from the burning vehicle, Gochnour said. There is cop body-worn-camera video as evidence in this case, the prosecutor said.

At the scene, officers were able to collect a black polo shirt with San Diego County Sheriff patches on the shoulders, a gun belt, a “replica firearm pellet gun,” a tactical vest with SHERIFF written on it, metal knuckles, and two expandable batons, according to the prosecutor.

Police collected a black polo shirt with San Diego County Sheriff patches on the shoulders.

When investigators served a search warrant at Carmichael’s home in the neighboring community of Oceanside, they allegedly found other replica police gear. This included a Glock 17 with “attachments” on it, a spot light, a holster, a police duty belt, a Condor tactical vest with POLICE on the front and back, a field notebook, a replica vest, a handcuff key, a six point badge, a glass-breaker attached to the vest, and a bodyworn camera attached to the vest.

Prosecutor Gochnour said, “He is trying to be percived as a police officer and making traffic stops.”

“The first instance was in mid-May,” Gochnour said. A woman was driving when she saw a vehicle driving behind her with a red-and-blue light bar, and she was concerned because she saw it was a Toyota Camry and she was afraid to pull over, so she phoned police while she was still driving, the prosecutor said.

The police dispatcher told her to keep driving and not to pull over until she felt it was safe, and the woman continued driving until that Toyota stopped following her. The prosecutor said that incident has not been charged in the current criminal complaint, but the investigation continues.

The M.O. is similar: the pretender pulls people over, scolds them for their perceived bad driving and then lets them go with a warning.

Another incident occurred on May 23, when another woman was driving and she was pulled over by a Toyota Camry with red and blue lights in it; after she stopped, she recognized the man who was approaching was a family friend, and he suddenly drove off at that point, prosecutor Gochnour said.

There are at least six additional instances with the same behavior, but they are not currently charged because those reports are not completed yet, according to the prosecutor. Gochnour said the M.O. is similar: the pretender pulls people over, he scolds them for their perceived bad driving and then he lets them go with a warning. “And that’s what happened on this June 13 incident, when sheriffs actually intercepted this incident in progress,” Gochnour said.

“Seven of the nine individuals were male,” the prosecutor said, “There seems to be no sexual motive.”

Michael Anthony Carmichael, 21, currently pleads not-guilty to five felonies.

Judge Laura Duffy sounded incredulous when she learned that Michael Anthony Carmichael was currently on probation for the same offense.

Judge Laura Duffy sounded incredulous when she learned that Michael Anthony Carmichael was currently on probation for the same offense, when he allegedly committed the new offenses. Court records show that Carmichael admitted impersonating a peace officer as a misdemeanor in August, 2021, in a plea deal in which he was immediately released.

The public defender told the judge that “He is not currently employed, he is actively looking for work,” and he does not have money for bail, so the defender asked for Carmichael to be released on his own recognizance.

The judge found that Carmichael is a danger to the community and a flight risk because he fled officers, and set his bail at $170,000.

The court ordered that if Carmichael is able to post bail that he should seek mental health treatment addressing his “issues” that he needs to pretend he is a law enforcement officer. The judge said that he may be released into a residential treatment, mental health facility. And he is forbidden to drive.

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