Windermere, FL – A convicted sex offender accused of impersonating a police officer on three occasions in recent months has alleged that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has unfairly targeted him and his business (video below).
According to the OCSO, 39-year-old James Dewitte is the owner of Metro-State Special Services, a company that uses a fleet of SUVs and motorcycles to conduct funeral escorts, WESH reported.
Dewitte’s vehicles are outfitted with amber and purple lights.
He was first arrested on Sept. 7, after a Windermere police officer spotted him crossing solid double-yellow lines while conducting a funeral procession near Park Avenue and Maguire Road, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Dewitte was riding a motorcycle equipped with a siren, air horn, and colored lights, and was wearing a “fully equipped” duty vest, police said.
The officer pulled Dewitte over for crossing over the center line, and realized that the tags on the motorcycle were reported to have been stolen, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The suspect was also carrying an unloaded BB gun that resembled a Glock pistol, as well as a radio, two pocket knives, handcuffs, a baton, and pepper spray, police said.
Dewitte was allegedly “uncooperative” with officers, and was ultimately placed under arrest.
He was later released after posting bond.
During his arrest, police seized a bodycam Dewitte was wearing, which included footage of him blocking off a section of Interstate 95 in Volusia County as he was escorting a group of corvettes, according to WESH.
Another clip showed Dewitte cursing at motorists as he weaved between vehicles at a high rate of speed in Osceola County, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
At times, Dewitte rode the solid center line while barreling towards oncoming traffic with a siren blaring, the video showed.
Another clip showed Dewitte as he shut down an intersection and yelled at motorist that he didn’t “give a f--k.”
At one point, he referred to a woman as a “dumb white b---h in a blue car,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“Get over!” he yelled at one vehicle as he pulled up beside it in heavy traffic, the video showed. “Get the f--k over!”
“What are you doing?” Dewitte asked the driver, who then asked the irate motorcyclist the same question.
“What the [expletive] does it look like I’m doing, dumb [expletive]?” Dewitte replied. “Get the [expletive] over before you find out!”
The motorist then told him to “stop pretending” that he was a “police officer,” the video showed.
“Listen, mother--ker,” Dewitte interrupted. “I know what I’m allowed to do and what I’m not allowed to do. What you need to do is figure some [expletive] out before you start talking s--t and cutting us off.”
The motorist threatened to call the police as Dewitte argued with him about the “legal law,” the video showed.
On the afternoon of Sept. 16, Dewitte was blocking another intersection and ordered an off-duty OSCO deputy to get out of his funeral procession, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Dewitte had the flashing lights on one of his SUV’s activated at the time.
As the off-duty deputy passed by him, Dewitte hit the front of his vehicle fender with both hands, then placed his right hand on his holstered weapon “in a threatening manner,” the deputy and other witnesses told police.
The deputy told Dewitte that he was breaking the law, and identified himself as a law enforcement officer, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“It doesn’t matter,” the suspect retorted, according to court documents. “Get out of my escort [expletive] boy.”
Several vehicles belonging to Dewitte’s company followed the off-duty deputy as he drove away and called 911, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
One employee, 35-year-old Randall Brocius, was ultimately arrested for carrying a 9mm handgun.
Dewitte was not arrested that day.
On Sept. 26, a woman called 911 to report that a man she initially believed was a law enforcement officer was blocking traffic and redirecting motorists, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
But as she looked more closely at the insignia on his vehicle, she became suspicious, prompting her call to police.
Dewitte has also been accused of illegally recording a telephone conversation with a woman, WESH reported.
OCSO deputies arrested him on Oct. 30 on additional charges of unlawful use of a two-way communication device, resisting without violence, interception of oral communications, and impersonating an officer, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“We do only funeral escorts,” Dewitte told WFTV as he was being arrested. “And these guys, since 2014, have been harassing us!”
“Only funeral escorts!” he yelled, as deputies pulled him into a building. “Dead family members and women and children that need our help!”
Dewitte bonded out of jail again on Nov. 1, and immediately began complaining that OCSO was targeting him, WESH reported.
"I have been running the business for ten years,” he railed. “We haven't had this problem. All the sudden thing after thing has happened.”
Dewitte claimed that the footage officers had obtained was taken from his employees’ cameras – not only his – and that the camera had been seized prior to his latest arrest.
"We take the people that don't belong, we say, ‘hey get out of our funeral,’” he argued. “We don't tell them to pull over, you know, I'm a cop or I'm a sheriff's deputy.”
Police said that companies like Dewitte’s are allowed to escort funeral processions, but that they are not legally able to pull people over or block intersections, WFOR reported.
Investigators also said that Dewitte is not allowed to use horns or sirens, and that his vehicles can only be equipped with either amber or purple lights – not both, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The convicted sex offender claimed that his company’s police-like uniforms had been approved by now-former Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, WFTV reported.
The OCSO rebuked that claim, and said Dewitte and his employees have repeatedly been warned that they cannot harass drivers, dress like law enforcement officers, or stop traffic.
"At no point should I ever have been pulled over,” Dewitte told WESH after his first arrest in September. “At no point should I ever have been put in handcuffs, at no point should I ever have been stripped of my gear in public while the funeral that I worked for was passing by.”
"So now my business is going to suffer,” he added. “I’m definitely going to want [an officer] suspension and definitely a letter of apology.”
According to state records, Dewitte previously served nearly two years in prison for impersonating a police officer in 2003, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
In 2005, he was convicted of lewd or lascivious battery involving a victim between the ages of 12 and 15, and has been a registered sex offender since that time.
Dewitte was sentenced to one year in prison for that offense, but was returned to prison in 2009 for violating his probation.
He was released in October of 2011.
You can watch clips from Dewitte’s bodycam in the video below: