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Prosecutors charge Mission man for impersonating a police officer on I-70 in KC

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City police say a man reported as a police impersonator is in custody, and charges are being pursued against the man. FOX 4's Megan Brilley first reported the story on Wednesday night, where a driver said he was pulled over during morning rush hour by an armed man pretending to be a cop.

Jackson County prosecutors filed charges against Willie Zimmerli, and 51-year-old man from Mission, on Friday. Zimmerli is accused of false impersonation and driving while his license is suspended or revoked. Both charges are misdemeanors, and Zimmerli is currently in jail on a $2,500 bond.

Dany Alzubbi said he was on Interstate 70 headed west when he thought he was being stopped by a legitimate cop.

"I thought maybe it was a detective on the way to a scene, because the car is unmarked and had minimal lights," Alzubbi said. "Comes up to my window and says, 'hey, buddy, I need you to slow it down.'"

Alzubbi said he noticed the man wasn't in uniform, nor did he have a badge, but he did have a gun.

"I asked him, 'are you are you a real police officer?' He said, 'you don't need to worry about that, just hang tight.' I was not gonna hang tight," Alzubbi said.

Fearing for his safety, he drove away, and the suspected impersonator passed him, giving Alzubbi the opportunity to record the car on video, and take down the car's license plate. He said afterwards the impersonator disappeared from view after noticing Alzubbi was recording.

"Once he noticed I was taking a video, he slammed on his brakes, in the video you can hear breaks, tires screeching," Alzubbi said.

Mission police arrested Zimmerli on Thursday, and he gave investigators his account of what happened. He denied pulling Alzubbi over, but said after seeing him drive fast he saw him pulled over with his flashers on. He claimed that he asked Alzubbi if his car was broken down, and became afraid when Alzubbi began using his cell phone.

He said he drove away and denied representing himself as an officer, and denied having a gun. He did admit to removing a spotlight and CB radio from the Crown Victoria, telling investigators he didn't want it to look like a police car.

A probable cause statement describes that Zimmerli's driving pvileges have been suspended three times within the past year, and currently is not allowed to drive in Kansas or Missouri. He may face up to a year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000 if he's convicted of impersonating an officer.

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