By Natalie Allison Janicello
ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A man charged Wednesday with impersonating a law enforcement officer resigned as a corporal with the Burlington Police Department in 2008, several months after being placed on administrative leave for unlawfully pointing a gun at two people.
Rafael Angel Nieves, 42, was arrested at the Alamance County Sheriff's Office two weeks after he allegedly pretended to be a federal agent while at the scene of his daughter's car accident.
According to the city of Burlington, Nieves was hired as a Burlington police officer in December 2002. Assistant Chief Chris Verdeck said Nieves worked with the Gang Task Force while he was employed.
Following a records request, Aaron Noble, human resources director for the city, said Nieves was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 1, 2008 after an incident the night before in which he was accused of unlawfully pointing a firearm at two people.
Noble said he was unsure whether the incident occurred while Nieves was on duty.
It was unclear how long the administrative duty lasted, or what the police department concluded after conducting an investigation into the incident. Noble said Nieves voluntarily resigned in November 2008.
According to the sheriff's office, Nieves' daughter was involved in a single-vehicle accident Feb. 19 on Isley Road, damaging a fence. While a trooper from Highway Patrol was still in route to the wreck, Nieves' daughter reportedly called Nieves and the sheriff's office about a disturbance involving the property owner, said Randy Jones, public information officer for the sheriff's office.
Jones didn't know what the disagreement was about, and said no report was taken since deputies found no disturbance upon arrival.
Nieves allegedly came to the scene and displayed a badge to the trooper and sheriff's deputies, identifying himself as "a federal agent with the United States Department of Justice."
Later, the son of the property owner filed complaints with both the sheriff's office and with federal authorities about Nieves displaying his credentials, "the way he conducted himself and the fact he would come up to an accident scene like that and flash a badge," Jones said.
Upon investigating, the sheriff's office determined that Nieves was not a DOJ agent, but is employed in a non-sworn position with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Greensboro office.
He was arrested at the sheriff's office and given a $400 bond.
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