Russell J Matson

Is it a crime to decorate your car like a vehicle from one of your favorite movies? This case is definitely  “more than meets the eye.”

Or maybe less.


My client accused of impersonating a police officer for decaling his Maserati to look like Barricade from Transformers.

On August 9th, my client was pulled over not far from his home in Braintree and questioned by 3 police officers. He was driving his very distinctive 2010 Maserati GranTurismo that was decorated as a character from the movie Transformers. The character takes the form of a police car.

After consulting with his Lieutenant, Officer Blake Holt of the Braintree Police department issued my client a summons to appear in court on a charge ofImpersonating a Police Officer.

The Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing will be held on Thursday, Sept 4 in Quincy District Court.

Just a few days before being stopped, my client had “dipped” his Maserati to appear as Barricade, one of the evil Decepticon robots from the movie Transformers.

Plasti-dip, or rubber dip is a removable rubber spray that you can apply to your car like decals. My client has applied several different dip color changes to his car before deciding to deck out his car in homage to the Transformers character Barricade.

A “Barricade” model Ford Mustang from the movie Transformers
A “Barricade” model Ford Mustang from the movie Transformers

Here is an image of the character in car form, and a clip of Barricade from the movie. He has the quote “to punish and enslave” on the car.


The Facts of this Case

My client was issued a criminal citation and will appear at a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing on Thursday, Sept 4 in Quincy District Court. The clerk will hear the facts and determine whether there is enough evidence to open a formal criminal complaint on a charge of Impersonating a Police Officer.

I believe the facts will show that my client did nothing that meets the criteria for this charge.

At no point did he represent himself as a police officer.

At no point did he attempt to pull anyone over.

My client does not and has never carried a gun or a badge, or dressed as a police officer.

The car itself, while certainly distinctive, did not have any blue lights like an actual police car. Despite decoration that make it look similar to a police car, it does not bear any official town or state seal of any police department.

The statute for impersonating a police officer MGL Chapter 268 Section 33 states that a person must “acts as such or requires a person to aid or assist him in a matter pertaining to the duty of such officer”.

My client did none of these things. Therefore the clerk magistrate should drop this case, and I believe that is what should happen at our upcoming court date next month.

Russell Matson is a recognized authority on criminal and DUI law in Massachusetts. He has been a practicing criminal defense law for almost 20 years. He has been quoted in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Patriot Ledger, and been seen on Fox25 News, Channel 7 News, Channel 5 News, Channel 22 in Springfield, and many other media outlets.