Man says 'misunderstanding' led to impersonating officer charge

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An argument over property boundaries in Dover lead to a man being arrested for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer.

One man says Travas Strickland was holding a shotgun, flashed a badge, and claimed to be a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy.

Strickland maintains he did not do any of that. However, the sheriff's office does not take pretending to be an officer lightly and has filed charges.

Around noon Monday, Strickland, 30, said he stopped by his new rental house. Along the roadway leading to the home, he says a misunderstanding was blown out of proportion.

Strickland said two men were on the property he just rented.

"They came on foot running toward me yelling, 'Who the hell do you think you are?' and I'm like, I turn around, I'm like, 'What are you doing? What? No, get back.'  I started freaking out, I was like, they're gonna attack me here," Strickland remembered.

He says the two men were on his property and he wanted them to leave.

One of the men, neighbor Pete Bishop, said Strickland “accosted” him.

Bishop told FOX 13 News he and his son were breaking down a barn on an adjacent property when Strickland pulled down the road.

Bishop says when they tried to speak with Strickland about the property lines, Strickland claimed he worked for HCSO as an undercover narcotics deputy. Bishop claims Strickland showed a badge and a handgun, and then took a shotgun out of his car.

“Somebody that you don’t know, some guy starts hollering and pulls a gun out of his trunk and starts hollering at you to get off the property, you don’t sit there and argue with him,” Bishop said. “When I tried to explain to him where the property lines were and that I wasn’t on the property, he went and got a shotgun out of the car and came back and told me to get off the property… and I walked away.”

Bishop took a picture of Strickland, showing him holding a shotgun vertically and a badge of some kind appears to be visible on his hip. Bishop called HCSO to report the incident.

Strickland maintains it was a misunderstanding.

“I never introduced myself as an officer of any kind,” Strickland said. “My badge is just barely sticking out of my shirt. It’s not a star badge or anything like that. It’s a security badge. I never claimed to be anything. They never asked me. I never presented myself as anything.”

Strickland added the shotgun was not loaded and he has a conceal-carry permit for the handgun.

"I never even pointed the shotgun at them at all.  I made sure it was under my arm, the butt of the gun was here facing up in the air behind me," Strickland said.

Strickland was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and impersonating a law enforcement officer. 

He said he has lost his job and security clearances due to the incident. 

Both Strickland and Bishop say they have contacted an attorney.