Man arrested for impersonating an officer insists he is still a Brooklyn cop

News DemocratDecember 10, 2013 


— The 56-year-old man who Caseyville police stopped early Saturday morning and later charged with a driving under the influence and impersonating a police officer says he was not drunk and he is still a Brooklyn police officer.

Harold Johnson said Caseyville Police pulled him over alleging his license plate light was out and wound up charging him with DUI and impersonating a police officer. Caseyville officers pulled him over at 1:25 a.m.

Johnson said he told the officer that he had just left a bar. "But I was not drunk. I was not swerving or anything," he said. He said after Caseyville police spoke to Brooklyn Police Chief Tony Tomlinson, he was charged with impersonating a police officer and driving under the influence.

Tomlinson said he told Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez that Johnson had not worked for the department since early April. He said Monday that Johnson has not worked at the police department since April 1. He said he sent Johnson a letter telling him that his shift had changed and he has not heard from or seen him since April. Before that, Tomlinson said Johnson often would miss days of work.

Johnson said Tomlinson put him on a midnight shift, a shift he can't work.

"He was supposed to change my schedule. He didn't," Johnson said. "The chief refused to put me on the schedule."

Johnson is a former Brooklyn police chief, a position he resigned because, he said, he had a conflict with the board of trustees. He said he and Tomlinson have a personal conflict.

"The chief is angry with me because in 2006 I terminated him because he took off supposedly for military duty. He didn't go and later he was working in Alorton. I found out and terminated him," Johnson said.

"He tried to fire me," Tomlinson said. "I was on military orders to go to Korea. When he came here I was already on military leave. He could not terminate me and I was not terminated."

Tomlinson said he sent Johnson a letter notifying him of the schedule change and Johnson said he didn't want to work where he was not wanted and quit, something Johnson denies.

He said "Chief Tomlinson tried to fire me, but the board would not do it. I am still a police officer with the Brooklyn Police Department."

Trustee Phillip Wells said he recalls that sometime between June and September Tomlinson "recommended to the board that Harold Johnson be fired and the board said no."

Wells said he believes the board said no because of the number of years Johnson has in law enforcement.

Wells said he understands that there is some sort of personal conflict between Tomlinson and Johnson. Tomlinson said the man simply has not come to work.

Brooklyn Trustee Mattie Roby said as far as she is concerned, Johnson is no longer a Brooklyn Police officer.

"He terminated himself. We did not fire him, he abandoned his job. He stopped coming, and stopped calling. When you do no shows, no call, you are automatically supposed to be terminated. From April for about two months he wouldn't call or anything," Roby said.

Johnson repeated that he had not reported to work because Tomlinson would not put him on the schedule.

Mayor Vera Glasper could not be reached for comment.

Alvarez said he is standing by the charges.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

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