The Washington Post suspended one of its employees after he was arrested in Northern Virginia for impersonating a federal law enforcement officer.
The Post reported that according to police allegations, IT worker Itai Ozderman, 35, of Gaithersburg, Virginia, was observed wearing a ballistic vest emblazoned with the label “ICE” on its front.
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His Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Thomas DeGonia, said that Ozderman has not yet been charged with impersonating an officer, but that FBI officials continue to investigate the matter.
A Montgomery County SWAT team and FBI agents discovered two M4 assault rifles inside Ozderman’s home, as well as a loaded Sig Sauer handgun and a Baltimore County police badge in a vehicle used by him as the result of an early-morning raid conducted two weeks ago.
The fruits of that raid resulted in two charges being lodged against him: transporting a loaded handgun and possession of the police badge while not being a Baltimore County officer.
“At this point, all indications are that the weapons were purchased and possessed legally,” his lawyer said.
On the charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer, DeGonia said that “At this point these are allegations, and he enjoys the presumption of innocence.”
The Post reported:
After his arrest two weeks ago in Montgomery County, Ozderman listed his occupation as an “IT Engineer” at The Post and said he had worked there for two years, according to the court records.
Authorities in Northern Virginia became concerned about Ozderman’s alleged activities going back to late last year, according to court records. Susan Finarelli, a spokeswoman for the Falls Church Police Department, said officers there determined Ozderman was impersonating an ICE officer and turned the matter over the FBI. She declined to comment further.
An “investigation determined that Itai Ozderman was impersonating a federal law enforcement officer and a local law enforcement [officer] in the Falls Church, Va., area,” Montgomery police wrote in court papers. “Ozderman was seen wearing a ballistic vest with an ‘ICE’ placard across the front of his chest. ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. . . . Ozderman was also seen with a Baltimore County Police badge. It was also reported that Ozderman was enforcing or attempting to enforce criminal laws.”
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