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Man accused of dressing as cop, 'arresting' boy for pot, sentenced


A Farmington man accused of impersonating a cop and "arresting" a pot-smoking 13-year-old was sentenced this week.

Andrew Scott Benson, 18, was charged with false imprisonment and impersonating an officer. (Click here to read the criminal complaint) after authorities say he handcuffed the boy while in a fake police officer uniform, then drove the teen around in a car that had flashing red and blue lights on top.

Benson told police he thought it'd be "funny" to scare the child into not using drugs again, according to the charges.

After Benson returned to the residence, the child began shaking and Benson noticed an irregular heartbeat and called 911, the charges said. The medical call attributed it to ingesting marijuana that may have been laced with another drug.

The Pioneer Press reports Benson pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced Thursday to a year in jail, with all but 10 days stayed as long as he follows his probation conditions for the next two years.

Details from the criminal complaint

The incident happened back on Jan. 18, according to the complaint:

Actual Farmington police officers got a hold of a video, recorded by a witness, that showed a male "officer" – wearing a dark shirt, a utility belt, a Farmington PD patch that was retired in 2014, a radio, and more – approach the 13-year-old in the basement of a private residence.

The officer, later identified as Benson, asked to see the boy's wallet and read him the Miranda rights. He then cuffed the boy and took him to what Benson called an "undercover" car.

The child "appears to be in an altered state" during the video. He was brought back to the residence, and tried to run away while still in handcuffs, and yelled an obscenity at Benson.

A short time later, the boy started shaking and not responding. Benson checked pulse (telling investigators he's training to be an EMT and formerly worked as a fire department explorer), noted it was "irregular" and called 911.

Police spoke with Benson on Jan. 22. He admitted to having the fake uniform (adding he didn't want it anymore) and lights on his car, and driving the boy around. He also said when he confronted the children in the basement, they may have thought he was a real officer – but claims he said multiple times he was not.

Other teens at the scene said it looked as though the boy believed Benson was a police officer.

Police also spoke with the child's father, who said he didn't give Benson permission to do anything. The boy told police he remembers ingesting marijuana that evening, for the first time, but doesn't remember anything after.

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