Police Arrest Man For Fake Police Twitter Account
Police Allege Ernesto Orsetti Impersonated Police While Dealing With Media
Miami Beach, Florida – Ernesto Orsetti was arrested Oct. 5 for using a Twitter account to impersonate a law enforcement official, which is a felony.
Orsetti allegedly set up a fake Twitter account and pretended to be Miami Beach Police Department Public Information Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.
According to a Miami Beach Police Department press release, Orsetti created a fake Twitter account and assumed Officer Rodriguez’ identity, using his photo and engaging with local media, elected officials and the community “as if he was PIO Rodriguez.”
The Twitter account was then suspended.
“The behavior here was outrageous,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates in a press release. “We simply can’t tolerate such an impersonation, and I am glad Mr. Orsetti will now be held accountable.”
According to the Miami New Times, Officer Rodriguez at first joked about theTwitter account.
The newspaper said Florida’s “false impersonation” statute does not specifically address impersonating someone on the Internet. The newspaper claimed the case might set a precedent for fake parody accounts.
NBC 6 TV alerted Officer Rodriguez about the parody Twitter account on Jan. 19.
“They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Rodriguez wrote on Twitter. “Just shows the amount of ‘free’ time folks have.” Rodriguez noted in a second tweet that the account was “generating some great laughs.”
The laughs ended for Orsetti, 48, who was arrested at his Miami Beach home. Police executed a search warrant on his computer. The police report says Orsetti is unemployed, according to the newspaper.
“Defendant falsely created and assumed the identity of the victim via Twitter,” the police report stated, according to the Miami New Times. “The Twitter account, @ernierodmb, had a marked Miami Beach police vehicle and a photo of the victim in uniform.” The report claims Orsetti “communicated with local media, elected officials, and the community.”