Charleston Police: Woman denies knowing accused police impersonator
A woman pulled over by a videographer accused of impersonating a police officer is adamantly refuting the man’s claims that he is a good friend who was just playing a prank, Charleston police said.
Investigators spoke with the 26-year-old woman again today and she denied knowing Jason Stoddard, who was arrested by police early Saturday on James Island, police spokesman Charles Francis said.
“She categorically says she does not know him,” Francis said.
But Stoddard, 32, of Moncks Corner, continues to insist he and the woman are friends. He said they have known each other for seven years, have hung out several times and he asked her on a date at one point. She refused.
“She must have a personal vendetta against me,” he said. “I have multiple witnesses and text messages that can be subpoenaed that show I am her friend. I don’t know why she is doing this to me.”
The Post and Courier was unable to reach the woman Monday or today. Francis said she told detectives she does not want to speak with the media.
Stoddard has maintained the episode was a prank that went awry when he pulled the woman over at 3:50 a.m. Saturday in a prop car designed to look like a police cruiser. He said he was lining up a shot for a music video when he spotted the woman and decided to stop her for a chat.
But Stoddard said the joke backfired when he pulled her over at Yale Drive near Mohawk Avenue with red and blue lights flashing on the prop Crown Victoria. The woman panicked and bolted. When he tried to catch up with her, she called police, who stopped Stoddard and took him to jail, police said.
The officer noted a cage in the backseat of the Crown Vic, along with a rear LED light bar and several antennas. The officer also saw a black flashlight on the front seat, like police officers use, in addition to an orange and yellow traffic vest, a police scanner and radio under the dash and Velcro pads in the front, police said.
Once Stoddard gave officers consent to search the car, they located a black night stick, an LED light bar that can be attached to the Velcro strips on top of the dash, two flashlights, a seat organizer that attaches to the passenger seat, a map, handcuffs and a box of gloves, police said.
He faces a charge of impersonating a police officer and was released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond.
Stoddard said the car was a prop for the music video and that he never intended to scare the woman, describing the episode as a big misunderstanding.
Police indicated that the woman identified Stoddard as the man who stopped her, and Francis said she he has maintained that she doesn’t know him.
Stoddard indicated to The Post and Courier on Monday that the woman was willing to call and vouch for him. The newspaper, however, never received a call from her and a message left on her phone went unreturned.
Stoddard said he and friends worked all day Monday and today trying to figure out what was going on. When he finally reached her, he said, she told him to leave her alone.
“I don’t know what is going on,” he said. “It’s not like we are best friends, but I did know her and I have no idea why she is doing this to me.”