ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A man will soon find himself back behind bars after officials said he was impersonating a law enforcement officer by his attire and actions during a funeral escort.
Details of 39-year-old Jeremy Dewitte's latest arrest by the Orange County Sheriff's Office weren't immediately available. 9 Investigates learned he was arrested for another incident last month in Windermere, where officials said he was wearing a shirt with a police badge, a bullet-restraint vest and a helmet with a police-like badge while he worked a funeral procession.
Police said he was also wearing a fully equipped belt containing a BB gun that resembled a real gun, pepper spray, a baton, handcuffs, pocketknives and a two-way radio.
Dewitte told Channel 9 that former Sheriff Jerry Demings approved of his police-like uniform.
"When Sheriff Jerry Demings who sat in office had sat down with us and had their attorney sit with us, they chose the grey shirt," Dewitte said. "They asked us not to wear blue."
The sheriff's office said his claims aren't true, and that his staff members were told on multiple occasions that they weren't authorized to stop traffic, harass drivers or dress like law enforcement officers.
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Police said Dewitte is a registered sex offender and not allowed to carry a firearm.
Dewitte pleaded with an Orange County judge for bail Thursday. He said the charge he was given was before he bonded out the first time.
"Just relax for a second," the judge said.
"I bonded, your honor. I bonded out. Please," Dewitte said.
The judge agreed to set his bail at $6,000.
After his arrest, Dewitte, who runs Metro State Vehicle Protection Services, told Channel 9's cameras, "These guys, since 2014, have been harassing us," as he was escorted into the jail.
After bonding out of jail, Dewitte was asked why he wore similar attire to a law enforcement officer and why he was pulling over drivers in traffic.
"I'm not directing them," Dewitte said. "I'm saying, 'Get out of my funeral.' I'm not saying, 'Turn there or pull over.' I'm never saying those words."
The Department of Corrections has records of Dewitte's 2001 conviction for a similar charge of impersonating an officer, along with records of a 2005 sex offense of lewd acts with a minor under the age of 15.
According to a 2018 affidavit, a woman accused him of impersonating an officer after he allegedly told her on a date that he "needed to put his gun in his Metro State company car" and that he was "working with local law enforcement."
Officials have not released the details of his most recent arrest.
Channel 9 has obtained a copy of videos that recorded Dewitte allegedly impersonating an officer that you can view below. Please be advised of graphic language.
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