Ex-Plaquemines deputy allegedly impersonates officer during Causeway DWI stop _lowres

Jamar Thomas

A former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested Sunday an allegation that he pretended to be a current cop in the midst of his arrest on the Causeway Bridge on a DWI count.

Causeway Police Department officers wrote in a probable cause affidavit that Jamar Thomas, 42, was driving a 2013 Ford Explorer southbound on the Causeway Bridge on Sunday afternoon. Thomas was “weaving side to side,” tailgaiting and switching lanes without signaling, police wrote in a report. At about the 5.3 mile marker, police said, he was pulled over on the bridge.

Officers wrote that Thomas “displayed several symptoms of intoxication,” failed a field sobriety test, and was arrested shortly after 4 p.m.

Thomas refused a breath test, according to police, and officers also found an ice-filled plastic cup with an “unknown alcoholic beverage” in his center cup console.

At some point during the encounter, police said, Thomas claimed to be a lawman with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office and even told officers that his sheriff’s office identification was in the truck. Police said they found “several” Sheriff’s Office commissions in the vehicle, including one issued by the current sheriff.

When Causeway Police called the Sheriff’s Office, they said, they discovered that Thomas had not been employed with the agency in over two years.

Cmdr. Eric Becnel, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman, confirmed that Thomas resigned from the agency in 2013.

Thomas was initially hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 1998, Becnel said, but resigned in 2009 after he was arrested on a DWI count in New Orleans. Thomas was rehired under former Sheriff Jiff Hingle in 2011. But in 2013, Becnel said, Thomas was arrested again after an “alleged domestic incident” in St. Bernard Parish. He resigned for the second time in July 2013.

“We are not certain why he still had his credentials (commissions) in his possession as they should have been surrendered to the PPSO,” Becnel wrote in an email. “We are looking into how and why that happened.”

Thomas was booked on counts of impersonating a police officer, operating while intoxicated second offense, reckless operation and having an open alcohol container in a vehicle.

Criminal Commissioner Paul Schneider set Thomas’s bond at $8,650 and he bonded out on Monday, according to court records. His next court date is April 19.

Efforts to reach Thomas or relatives were not successful.