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Gary Giannotti, Former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy, Arrested for Impersonating an Officer

Gary Giannotti, a former Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy, was arrested Wednesday after he was accused of using his invalid police identification as proof of identity during a routine traffic stop, news sources indicate. Giannotti, 44, was taken into police custody on charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer and driving without registration. He was later released on his own recognizance. It is not yet known whether Giannotti has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.

Giannotti began working as a sheriff’s deputy in Palm Beach County in 2001, reports say. In 2009, he found himself on the other side of the law when his wife called the police to report a domestic dispute. His wife and two children were not in the home at the time, but Giannotti was found at his home when police responded to the call. He was intoxicated and possibly armed, reports say. One responding deputy said that Giannotti “made some gestures [suggesting] that he wanted to hurt himself or others.” A negotiator asked Giannotti to hand himself over, but after several hours of no response, SWAT rushed his home to find that he was asleep. The incident landed him an 18-month probation, mandated therapy, and a resignation from the force in 2010.

In this recent incident, Giannotti was traveling along the 1200 block of Southern Boulevard in his Chevy pickup when an officer pulled him over. Reports did not list the reason for the routine traffic stop. The officer approached Giannotti’s vehicle but did not recognize him right away. Reports say Giannotti’s vehicle did not have a valid registration, so the officer ran his license plate number but did not get any results. Giannotti then allegedly gave the officer his former police I.D., which the officer discovered was no longer valid. The officer then placed Giannotti under arrest.

In other news, Alan Todd Berstein of Boynton Beach, Florida was arrested Tuesday after he was accused of hitting his father, reports indicate. Berstein, 49, was taken into police custody on one charge of battery. He was later released on his own recognizance. It is unclear whether he has retained legal representation.

Reports say the incident occurred as Berstein took his father and son for a car ride through their quiet neighborhood. Berstein’s father alleges that Berstein was driving carelessly with no regard for traffic laws. When the car came to a halt, the father allegedly pulled the keys from the ignition.

Berstein reportedly retaliated by grabbing his father and punching him. Berstein’s dad climbed out of the vehicle in an attempt to escape, but Berstein reportedly followed, catching up to his father and tackling him before continuing to beat him. The fight purportedly ceased when Bernstein’s mother came outside.

Reports say the father suffered cuts to his arm and abrasions to his nose. It is not clear whether he required medical attention for his injuries. Bernstein told police that both he and his father were actively engaged in the fight, which did indeed ensue after his father took the keys from the ignition.

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