A Kannapolis man was charged with impersonating an officer after officials say he pulled Shamel Tunnell, a FedEx driver, over in the parking lot at Concord Mills Mall.
The incident happened Monday evening as Tunnell was pulling into the mall near the TGI Friday's. Witnesses said Tunnell, who had the right of way, honked his horn at a blue truck who ran a stop sign and almost caused a crash.
As Tunnell proceeded toward Bass Pro Shops, a silver Tahoe got behind him along with the blue truck which had turned around. The Tahoe, which investigators said was being driven by James Galyan, then turned on a white strobe light and pulled the Tunnell over.
“I look in my mirror and I see flashing lights so you see flashing lights as a driver, that’s an authority figure, so you need to stop and address them,” said Tunnell.
Tunnell told police Galyan flashed a badge and said he was a security officer before later stating he was a police officer. That's when witnesses say the driver of the blue truck, Galyan's son-in-law, jumped on the FedEx truck and a fist fight ensued between those two drivers and real officers were called to the scene.
Police said Galyan had some sort of club or baton but did not use it as his son-in-law and the FedEx driver fought.
When officers arrived, Galyan allegedly told them he was a former officer. Concord police looked into his claims but found no record of Galyan being employed in law enforcement.
Tunnell said that the first responders seemed to think he was the one responsible for the incident. He thinks that because he is black they assumed he was the suspect.
“It was racial. From the police department to the EMT, to the mall people, to the two gentlemen. It was racial,” said Tunnell.
Galyan was charged with impersonating an officer. The son-in-law was not charged, but police said the driver of the FedEx truck did take out private warrants on both men.
“The public and the people need to know that there are people out here impersonating an officer and at any time anyone can be a victim," said Tunnell.
Police said while it is not illegal to have white lights on a personal vehicle, it is illegal to use them to pull someone over.