‘He’s a wannabe’ -- Northfield Township man accused of impersonating federal agent

New video captures the man accused of impersonating an officer in the act.
New video captures the man accused of impersonating an officer in the act.

NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP,Mich. – Authorities claim the man featured in a takedown video was impersonating a federal officer -- and it wasn’t the only time he’s done it.

The man in the video was identified by police as 42-year-old Northfield Township resident Michael Joseph Snyder.

In addition to the video, Snyder is accused of performing an illegal traffic stop on I-96 in Livingston County.

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

Police in Ann Arbor were called into an incredibly dangerous and confrontational situation. According to a federal affidavit, three men said they were minding their own business when Snyder began harassing them. He allegedly told them he was a police officer and was asked to show his badge.

Snyder told police one of the men was armed and when police tried to handle the chaotic situation and find out if there were weapons, police dashboard camera footage captured Snyder ordering the men to the ground and attempt to take down one of them.

Witnesses said Snyder used his cellphone to feign asking for police backup.

Snyder admitted to telling the 911 operator that he was a police officer to get a faster response, officials said.

“He’s a wannabe,” said retired DPD assistant chief Steve Dolunt. “He thinks he’s a hard-ass, but he’s not. He’s a wannabe.”

The three men did nothing wrong and police did not find a weapon on any of them.

“He had an incident in Ann Arbor. He accosted three black males accusing them of having a gun,” Dolunt said. “Police show up, they go after the black men and this clown is going, ‘I am not a federal agent, I am not the police.’ They are saying ‘Yes, you were!’ He has some power issues.”

In October, an incident involving a woman driving on I-96 in Livingston County put Snyder on authorities’ radar.

A woman told police she was driving east on I-96 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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Snyder was on the road, prepared to confront drivers and was dress in dark green tactical pants and a black shirt. When asked who he was, he reportedly told her he was a federal agent. The woman called 911 and drove of.

The ATF said they found Snyder and his truck at his home where he refused to activate the custom lights for agents that were on his truck.

The indictment said AFT agents 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,

Authorities said Snyder told them they were part of an online tactical store he reportedly runs.

Snyder is being charged with the federal crime of false impersonation of a police officer or employee of the United States.

“What he doesn’t realize he is going to pull over an off-duty cop one day and he might get shot because he’s got a gun pretending to be a federal agent,” Dolunt said.

About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.