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He fought the law / and the law won... (or did it?)

Barricade was the first robot to talk in Michael Bay's 2007 hit film Transformers and he proved one of the nastiest.  The Decepticon was capable of transforming into a Ford Motor Comp. (F) Mustang Saleen S281E police car, in order to avoid suspicion.  After proving a key antagonist to Optimus Prime's Autobots, this "crooked cop" was missing from the sequel but appeared in an extended cameo in 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon -- just long enough to get killed by gunfire by human troops on a counteroffensive.
 
Silly humans have been known to specially retrofit their cars to look like this dreaded Decepticon.  But usually they avoid having any words/logos/slogans that directly mirror those of police cars; for example, this 2007 Ford Mustang Saleen switched the "911" logo to "411".



A Massachusetts man turned his $99,968 USD Maserati GranTurismo into a bolder and more unusual take on Barricade and now he may pay the price.  The driver was pulled over police officers Braintree, Massachusetts after they reportedly mistook him for a real cop car.

Barricade
The embattled Maserati homage to the Decepticon "Barricade" is seen here in Mass.
[Image Source: Eric Clark]

Perhaps it was the black and white paint job.  Or maybe it was the "911" logo towards the front of the rear quarter panel... or the K9 on the rear pillar ... or the slogan "Speed Enforcement" on the rear bumper.  
 
Of course, there are telltale signs that hint that this is no police car.  First there are no emergency lights or extra antennas.  Second, the driver's side door is emblazoned with the word "Decepticon" and beneath that, the slogan "PUNISHENSLAVE".  And the rear quarter panel also reads "To punish and enslave..." and on the bottom has a hashtag "#halomafia".
 
The driver of the vehicle, in an interview with Anime News Network (ANN), said that the car was actually his wife's and that the Barricade getup was just the latest in a series of monthly plasti dips that he had been sporting over the summer.  The Barricade look was finished July 25, and the driver had been prowling the streets for two weeks without incident.

Barricade plasti dip
The driver contends his getup was an "approved of" plasti dip and that he wasn't impersonating police.
[Image Source: ANN]

His luck ran out when he was stopped on Aug. 9 by Braintree patrol officer Blake Holt.  A local news source, The Patriot Ledger, reports:

Braintree Deputy Police Chief Wayne Foster said the as-yet unidentified town resident was summoned for a clerk magistrate hearing in Quincy District Court after a patrol officer stopped him in Braintree Square over the weekend...

The driver was charged with impersonating a police officer. Foster said Monday the owner’s court hearing hasn’t been sched
uled yet.

Foster said that at about 4 p.m. Saturday, patrol officer Blake Holt fell in behind the 2010 Maserati on Washington Street in Braintree Square.

He said Holt "didn’t know of any (police) department that had a Maserati," so he turned on his cruiser’s lights and stopped the Maserati...

Foster said the driver told Holt that he believed he was assisting the police "because other drivers noticed him and slowed down, thinking it was a police vehicle."

But ANN, who supposedly interviewed the driver claims this information was incorrect.  It writes:

The driver also says two other officers, a female and male, were there during the conversation and that he told them the design was approved. According to the driver, he was not arrested but was informed he may be brought to court for impersonating a police officer. The driver gave the police his address and that he would be seeking a lawyer. He states that he wasn't given any kind of ticket nor was he arrested.

The driver denies making [the] comments [claimed by Chief Foster], stating that he only meant that drivers slow down because his car is expensive, not because it looks like a police vehicle.

The driver received a summons to Quincy District Court on Monday and is being charged with a misdemeanor. The court date is set for Thursday, August 28 but the driver said it may be delayed until September because his lawyer is out of town. Nonetheless, the Maserati owner remains optimistic about his chances in court,

"My lawyer told me that we have a very big chance to win. He said he wouldn't worry about the case if he was me, since I have clean criminal and driving record. I don't even have a parking ticket."

Complaint against Barricade
A copy of the complaint the driver received last Monday [Image Source: ANN]

In the U.S. it's illegal to impersonate a police officer under various local, state, and federal statutes, however the exact definition of "impersonation" is rather ambiguous in some cases (such as this).  Artistic interpretation is often granted certain leniencies.  Thus the driver may indeed fare well in court (especially given that his vehicle selection suggests he can afford a decent lawyer).
 
That said, we're guessing he won't be taking his "Decepticon" sports car out for a spin anymore and might look to get this month's plasti dip done a little early.
 
The biggest irony?  By choosing to use a Maserati for his take on Barricade the driver actually likely made his car look a little less like local cops.  Had he used the Ford Mustang look adopted in the Michael Bay films, he likely would look more like local law enforcement, which (as noted) uses a mix of Fords and Chryslers.

Sources: Anime News Network, The Patriot Ledger





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