Prosecutors say frequent cop impersonator conducted traffic stop, searched vehicle
Vincent Richardson was 14 when he received the moniker “kid cop” after he successfully pretended to be a Chicago police officer for five hours before officials realized he was not a member of the department.
A convicted felon with a history of pretending to be a Chicago police officer was ordered held on $75,000 bail Friday after prosecutors alleged he was seen conducting a traffic stop while claiming to be a police officer earlier this month and making social media posts of himself in police clothing, as well as firing a gun at a shooting range.
Vincent Richardson was 14 when he received the moniker “kid cop” after he successfully pretended to be a CPD officer for five hours before officials realized he was not a member of the department.
Since then, Richardson has been convicted on felony charges for impersonating a Chicago police officer in two other cases, as well as misdemeanor convictions for pretending to be a federal official and for possessing body armor, prosecutors said.
Richardson, 26, was charged Thursday with three felony counts of impersonation of a police officer in connection with several new incidents, including allegedly telling Chicago Housing Authority security guards he was a Chicago police sergeant.
Richardson would wear a full police uniform, or a CPD sweater, when he met the security guards and carried a weapon, prosecutors said in court Friday.
On Jan. 14, Richardson was with CHA security guards in the 2300 block of West Jackson Boulevard when they heard gunshots, prosecutors said.
Richardson then allegedly looked for the source of gunshots and used a flashlight to slow down nearby traffic.
Weeks later, Chicago police were told someone was posing as a police officer on the social media apps TikTok and Instagram — accounts later linked to Richardson, prosecutors said.
In one social media video posted, Richardson appeared to be firing at a shooting range, prosecutors said.
An Instagram account with the username @vince_CPD that prosecutors said was Richardson’s, includes photos of CPD vehicles and a photo of him wearing a Chicago police T-shirt.
Earlier this month, police monitored Richardson’s home in west suburban Lisle and allegedly saw him wearing a CPD sergeant’s uniform.
Richardson returned to the CHA property on Feb. 3 and again said he was a police officer while wearing a duty belt with handcuffs and a weapon, prosecutors said. The security guards saw Richardson conduct a traffic stop, direct the occupants out of the vehicle and search them.
One guard later questioned Richardson about his gun, which appeared to be a replica or BB gun, and Richardson left the area for the day, prosecutors said.
The next day, Richardson contacted the security guards and said he “had been promoted to SWAT” and tried to sell them law enforcement equipment, including a Glock magazine, a Taser and CPD skull caps, prosecutors said. Richardson also allegedly met with a security guard to sell them a police radio, but never provided it, despite taking the guard’s money.
Officers surveilling Richardson also reported seeing department-issued equipment, including a computer and police radio, in his car, prosecutors said.
Richardson’s home was searched Tuesday and he was taken into custody, prosecutors said.
Richardson works as a fleet manager for a third-party Amazon contractor and has family living in the area, including his mother, in Cook County, whom he could stay with, his attorney said in court.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis said allegations that Richardson has continued to claim he is a police officer despite facing consequences for doing so previously, made him believe Richardson was “a danger to the community.”
Particularly disturbing, the judge said before setting Richardson’s bail, were the allegations that Richardson conducted a traffic stop.
“When an individual holds himself out as a peace officer, when he has no legal right to be a peace officer — and pulls people over — he places those individuals in danger, himself in danger and anyone else around him in danger,” Willis said.
Willis also ordered electronic monitoring as a condition of Richardson’s release from Cook County Jail.
His next court date is scheduled for Tuesday.