Cinotti convicted of impersonating a police officer

Cinotti convicted of impersonating a police officer
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - New developments in the case of a man accused of impersonating a Navassa Police Officer. Eric Cinotti has entered a plea deal in response to the charges of two felony counts of Operating a Vehicle with Blue Lights, and another felony count of Operating a Vehicle With Blue Lights Causing Others to Yield. Cinotti is now a convicted felon, specifically from traffic stops he conducted.

Cinotti maintains his innocence and entered an Alford Plea in Brunswick County Court. In an Alford Plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but recognizes prosecutors likely have enough evidence to convict them if they were to take the case to trial. For legal purposes, the defendant is still considered guilty. Cinotti said he didn’t want to spend more money since preparing for trial already cost him tens of thousands of dollars, prompting him to plea.

He was arrested in July of 2021, after arriving at an emergency call in Leland wearing a badge, a gun, and bulletproof vest. Cinotti said he told Leland first responders he was a volunteer with the Navassa Police Department, and offered his help, which they declined. The first responders would later explain he seemed suspicious. Upon further investigation, law enforcement officials learned Cinotti was not a certified law enforcement officer, although he had been volunteering with what remained of the Navassa police department at the time.

Authorities would later learn Cinotti had also been pulling people over on the highway, running blue lights and sometimes traveling at over 100 miles an hour.

Cinotti did not want to do an on-camera interview following his plea deal, but told WECT he was responding to those calls under the authority of the Navassa Police Department. He said he was simply volunteering his time to a police department that was short on manpower, but the news coverage surrounding his arrest has made it difficult for him to get a job.

As a convicted felon, Cinotti is barred from having firearms or ammunition. He is also registered as a felon in the national NCIC and DCI databases.

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