Andrew Benson faces a false imprisonment charge for allegedly posing as a police officer while trying to get a 13-year-old to quit smoking pot.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County, a video recording from January 18 shows Benson, an 18-year-old Farmington resident, wearing an outfit resembling a Farmington police officer's uniform -- complete with a flashlight, radio, and medical gloves pouch -- while confronting the teen in the basement of a private residence.
The footage allegedly shows Benson asking the teen for his wallet, using terminology like "search and seizure," reciting the Miranda warning, asking the teen to place his hands behind his back, and placing him in handcuffs before he's escorted out of the residence into what Benson called his "undercover car."
"Benson's car was affixed with red and blue flashing emergency lights which were activated during the incident," the complaint says. "During Benson's initial contact with the child, the child appears to be in an altered state and exhibits problems with maintaining proper balance at several points during the encounter."
After he was returned to the residence, Farmington authorities received a medical call on behalf of the teen. First responders were told the child had ingested marijuana -- he later said it was the first time he'd smoked pot -- and were informed the marijuana was possibly laced with another drug, causing him to "trip hard."
Rumors about the incident began to swirl around the local middle school, and eventually a Farmington Police Officer heard about it. A cop talked to Benson, who said that while he made a point of informing the teen that he's not actually a police officer, he might've thought he actually was one in his altered state. (The complaint doesn't detail what relationship if any exists between Benson and the teen.)
Here, via the complaint, is what Benson allegedly told authorities about what happened after he dropped the teen off at his house:
Benson admitted driving the child around the area before returning the child to the residence. Upon returning to the residence, Benson opened the car door and the child attempted to run away while still handcuffed. The child yelled "f**ck the police." Benson stated he was able to take the cuffs off of the child when the child fell to the ground. Benson explained that a short time later, several of the people at the residence voiced concern over the child's condition after the child began shaking and not responding. Benson said he checked the child's pulse and noted it was irregular, so he called 911.
The teenager who filmed the incident in the basement told investigators he thought the pot-smoking teen had red eyes and "no idea" what was going on. When the victim was shown the video, he said he couldn't remember the incident.
Benson faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine in connection with the false imprisonment charge. He was charged by summons, meaning no mugshot is available.
To read the complaint for yourself, click here.