BURRILLVILLE – A Burrillville man is facing a charge of impersonating a police officer after conducting a traffic stop in his personal vehicle and questioning the driver about her reason for travel, an action he reportedly told police was in effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Brett Hopkins, 25, of Burrillville was arrested after a 38-year-old Connecticut woman said she was pulled over on her way to work and questioned as to how her job was “essential,” in March.
According to reports, police learned about the incident from Dispatcher Keith McCarthy, whose wife knows the victim. After hearing of the strange encounter, McCarthy notified police.
During the investigation, the victim told officers she was driving on Buck Hill Road, crossing into Rhode Island from Connecticut when she saw blue and red emergency lights behind her.
Gov. Gina Raimondo had just recently announced that traffic traveling into the state would be stopped and told to quarantine, and the woman assumed that was why she was being stopped, according to reports.
She said that the man who approached her car wore a dark blue uniform and a badge, and asked her where she was headed. When she said she was going to work, he asked to see proof and asked, “how essential are you if you’re not wearing scrubs?” before allowing her to leave.
A few days later, a Burrillville officer spotted a vehicle on Croft Road with emergency lights on top. The driver was reportedly wearing a tactical vest.
Hopkins told police he had conducted the traffic stop because he was concerned about the spread of coronavirus and said he was gathering information to give to police.
Hopkins was released on a summons and told to appear in court at a later date, which has been delayed due to the virus.