(KTVI) - Police want to know if you've been stopped, frisked or arrested by a man who looks like a police officer. Fox 2 found he’s even been banned by an air force base, yet a north county police department continues backing him. Kinloch, MO backs the man they call a “Marshal,” despite repeated warnings. Scott Air Force Base barred the man after reported illegal traffic stops.
Kinloch is a city with empty lots and burned out buildings. Less 500 people live in the town that sits in the shadow of Lambert St. Louis International Airport.
That’s where a man drives a K-9 vehicle, equipped with lights and sirens. The vehicle also includes a mounted laptop computer and recording equipment. It belongs to Ramont Manuel, a man who even wears a body camera. He`s not a licensed police officer.
The City of Kinloch calls him a Deputy Marshal and says he “performs K-9 services... for the police department.”
Velda City Police Chief Daniel Paulino says he`s concerned the man is impersonating an officer. Paulino said, “People get the impression that`s a police car, a police officer driving a police car, especially it has a spotlight on it as well.” A Velda City police officer reports seeing Manuel and even talking to him while working the front lines of Ferguson. He said Manuel appeared to be wearing a full police uniform.
We later found YouTube video from August 10th, 2014, confirming Manuel stood in uniform alongside licensed police officers. He was captured on video by a demonstrator walking the front lines. Manuel is seen standing with his K-9 at the corner of West Florissant and Ferguson Avenue. You can hear him give the demonstrator an order, “Go back. I just told you.”
Paulino added, “My officer asked him, hey what department are you with, because he didn`t see any patches and Manuel (responded he was) with the Florissant police department.”
Florissant has no record of Manuel.
Paulino wondered, “Did he make an arrest? Did he deploy his dog during those riots? We don`t know so all that`s still under investigation. All that information has been relayed to the proper authorities.”
Paulino found Manuel did certify a K-9 in 2011, but only after telling trainers he was an officer. Chief Paulino said, “(Manuel) advised them he was with the City of Wellston, a police officer with the City of Wellston.”
Wellston Police report no record of Manuel as a police officer and Paulino adds that K-9 certification requires continued training and yearly updates.
Ramont Manuel wouldn`t respond to numerous requests, including our visit to his Florissant home. His Facebook page says “police department K-9 officer in Kinloch, Missouri.”
No one from Kinloch will answer any questions, beyond sending a letter saying Manuel is not impersonating an officer. The city attorney wrote that Manuel is a court marshal employed for two years.
The city won`t address the K-9 or Manuel`s vehicle with lights, sirens and spotlight. Manuel’s might be the nicest car on the lot, surrounded by broken down cars like this one missing a window and another with a flat tire.
In December 2014, Bel-Ridge police stopped Manuel for speeding and reported he would not answer when asked if he was a police officer. The police report says Manuel handed over his Kinloch I.D. and another showing he`s a security officer for a university.
Chief Paulino said, “Our main concern is we want to see if there`s any victims out there who have been stopped, frisked, patted down or maybe even arrested quote unquote, by this individual and if they have to come forward.”
I also obtained three letters from the Air Force, showing Manuel was barred from Scott Air Force Base, indefinitely, starting in 2010. An Air Force Colonel wrote to Manuel saying, “I have been informed that you have failed to comply with federal court ordered removal of emergency lighting on your privately owned vehicle.” The letters mention illegal “traffic stops” Manuel reportedly made in 2009 and 2010, one in which he was “in possession of a firearm” and “wearing a Canadian battle dress uniform.”
Manuel is retired from the Air Force and asked Congressman Lacy Clay to intervene on his ban from entering Scott Air Force Base. The Air Force did not back down. To this day, you’ll still see Manuel driving his personal car with lights and sirens, as he heads to his job in Kinloch. Twitter user Alli Lynn @_MommaKnowsBest Tweeted four pictures of Manuel’s car after our initial report.