Md. man allegedly posing as cop had NYPD badge, handcuff key, BB gun in fake squad car
BETHESDA, Md. (ABC7) —
It’s highly unadvisable to lie about being a sworn police officer while driving a pretend squad car, particularly during a recorded traffic stop with a real officer.
However, Dominique Nathan Gomez, of Gaithersburg, allegedly made that very mistake on the night of January 6 while driving in downtown Bethesda.
Shortly after midnight, a Montgomery County Police officer stopped Gomez along Woodmont Avenue due to expired tags. The officer smelled “a strong odor of alcohol” and asked the 23-year-old to perform a sobriety test. As Gomez exited his 2009 Chevy Impala, the officer spotted a black handgun stashed in the pocket of the driver’s side door.
The officer put Gomez in handcuffs and ordered all passengers, including Gomez’s girlfriend, to step out of the Impala.
According to Montgomery County District Court records, the officer found a switchblade knife in Gomez’s right pant pocket, plus a New York City Police Department courtesy badge and handcuff key in Gomez’s wallet. The weapon stashed in the front driver’s door turned out to be a “BB gun” made to look like an actual handgun.
In some jurisdictions, police unions hand out courtesy badges to sworn officers’ family and friends. Courtesy badges often help holders avoid fines during minor traffic stops. However, an investigative report by WNBC-TV in New York City uncovered a black market for such items. Police do not know how Gomez obtained his NYPD courtesy badge.
During a search of the Impala, officers discovered two LED light bars attached to the front windshield, one LED light bar attached to the rear windshield, a professional Citizens Band (CB) radio and a portable radio. Court documents detail that the Chevy Impala – a vehicle commonly used by law enforcement agencies nationwide – “looked like a police cruiser.”
Cops asked Gomez’s girlfriend why the vehicle resembled an actual unmarked squad car. She reportedly explained that Gomez worked for both D.C. Police and D.C. Fire and EMS.
Gomez also allegedly claimed to be a member of the D.C. Police Department, and added that he was in the “hiring process” to become a Montgomery County Police officer. Investigators explain both statements are patently false.
According to court records, Gomez was born in New York and recently moved to Maryland. He is currently unemployed and lives in an apartment along Clopper Road in Gaithersburg.
He's charged with one count of concealing a dangerous weapon and one count of impersonating a police officer. A judge could sentence him up to five years in prison.