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Feds: Fake cop swears at woman after illegal traffic stop, lies to police about lights on truck

Michael Snyder taken into custody

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. – A man previously accused of impersonating police in Ann Arbor and Texas was arrested in Metro Detroit after he activated illegal flashing lights on his truck to pull a woman over, told her she was driving like a “f------ a------” and claimed to be a federal agent, according to court records.

Woman pulled over on I-96

A woman told police she was driving east on I-96 in Livingston County at 5:57 p.m. Oct. 27 when she passed a 2015 Ford F-250 pickup truck with Texas plates. Officials said the pickup truck got behind her car and began flashing red and blue lights, so the woman pulled over.

The driver of the pickup truck -- Michael Joseph Snyder, 42, of Northfield Township -- approached her car while wearing a black shirt and dark green tactical pants, according to authorities. The woman said she noticed Snyder had several tattoos on his arms and neck.

Snyder told the woman that she had been driving like a “f------ a------,” court records show.

She questioned his authority since his F-250 had Texas plates, and he told her he was a federal agent, police said.

The woman grew suspicious of Snyder and told him she didn’t believe he was a law enforcement officer, according to authorities. She drove away and called 911, officials said.

While on the phone with the operator, the woman managed to get behind Snyder’s pickup truck and follow it east on I-96 and south on U.S. 23, court records show.

The F-250 exited at Exit 54, police said. Authorities located it in Northfield Township, where Snyder lives.

Snyder taken into custody

Officers spoke to Snyder, who admitted he had lights on his pickup truck but claimed they were only red and white, according to authorities.

Snyder refused to activate the lights and wouldn’t turn over his keys, officers said.

Police told Snyder what the woman told them and he denied activating his lights during the incident or pulling the woman over, court records show. He told them he pulled up next to the woman’s car, flipped her off and told her to slow down, according to officials.

Snyder was arrested and the pickup truck was towed.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for the F-250 and found aftermarket lights on the front and back that flashed red and blue, officials said.

Police also found an assortment of tactical gear and weapons inside the home, including a tactical vest bearing an “Agent” patch with flex cuffs; a tactical belt with an unloaded Smith & Wesson handgun in the holster, along with loaded magazines and a knife; a backpack containing an unloaded Zenith firearm along with loaded magazines, gun tools, flex cuffs and holsters; and a gun case containing an Anderson AM-15 rifle and loaded magazines, according to authorities.

Officials said they also found the keys to the pickup truck and a black shirt in the kitchen.

Interview at sheriff’s office

Snyder was interviewed by law enforcement officers at the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office. Police said he agreed to talk after being read his Miranda rights.

He told officers that he uses the emergency lights for displays at trade shows, police said. Snyder owns an online retail company that sells police tactical gear, according to court records.

Photos of Michael Joseph Snyder obtained from the Livingston County Sheriff's Office.
Photos of Michael Joseph Snyder obtained from the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. (WDIV)

Snyder denied activating his lights to pull the woman over, but when asked if it was possible he had accidentally turned on the lights, he snapped his fingers and said, “Yupp, that’s it,” and, “I guess you can lock me up,” court records show.

He also told officers that he might have a vest with a patch that identifies him as a federal agent or law enforcement officer, police said. He told them the vest was at his company’s warehouse and wouldn’t disclose that location, officials said.

Previous incidents

Snyder told police he had recently been stopped by Livonia police because his wife accidentally activated the lights. He said he explained the situation to an officer and was released without incident, according to authorities.

Investigators said they found two other notable encounters in Snyder’s criminal history.

He was involved in a June 24, 2018, confrontation in Ann Arbor involving three other men, police said. Snyder told responding Ann Arbor police officers that one of the other men had a gun, officials said. An officer aimed a pistol at the other man and ordered him to the ground as a result, court records show.

Police didn’t find a gun on the man and none of the interviewed bystanders had seen a gun, authorities said.

One of the other men told police Snyder had claimed to be an officer. A witness told authorities a man matching Snyder’s description had started harassing the group of men, claimed to be a cop and held his cellphone to his ear asking for backup.

Snyder admitted to telling the 911 operator that he was a police officer to get a faster response, officials said. He was not prosecuted, according to court records.

During an Oct. 28, 2014, incident in El Paso, Texas, officers were called to a report of an aggravated assault and a man impersonating police, officials said.

A man told officers he had been driving on the interstate when he noticed flashing red and blue lights behind him. He said he stopped and Snyder ordered him to get out of his vehicle with his hands up, according to authorities.

The man said Snyder was displaying a handgun, police said. When the man asked to see Snyder’s credentials, Snyder went back to his vehicle and left, court records show.

Officials said the case went to the court, but it was dismissed when the victim failed to appear.

Charges

The criminal complaint says there is probable cause that Snyder committed the offense of false impersonation of a police officer or employee of the United States.

Snyder is accused of pretending to be a federal agent when he pulled the woman over on I-96. Officials allege he knew the pretense was false but he acted with the intent to make the woman obey his actions.


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