[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1377041743&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&pl_id=21958&show_title=1&va_id=4233922&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1377041743 type=script]BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Youth minister Matt Pitt is used to being in the spotlight.
He’s the leader of “The Basement,” a Christian worship service well-attended by teens and young adults in the Birmingham area. Once again, however, he’s in the spotlight allegedly for impersonating an officer.
Jefferson County deputies received a call on June 15 from a man who noticed suspicious activity in the woods near his home.
“The one later identified as Matt Pitt walked over and picked the rifle up,” Chief Deputy Randy Christian said. “He (the witness) asked them what they were doing out there. That’s when he (Pitt) presented himself as a law enforcement officer and that’s when they jumped on the ATVs and drove off.”
An arrest warrant was not issued immediately.
“We tried for two months to get his statement,” Christian said, “We wanted to hear his side of the story.”
Pitt never contacted the sheriff’s office. Monday, the sheriff’s office issued a felony warrant. Matt Pitt’s supporters immediately reacted, sending several emails to CBS 42, claiming deputies illegally searched Pitt’s car.
Jett Alston wrote, “The lies that are coming from these officers makes the public wonder what is the truth! With the so-called ‘good guys’ lying to take someone down.”
Supporters also sent along a cell phone video. They say it shows Jefferson County deputies searching Pitt’s car without permission.
“It’s simply just propaganda that’s being put out by folks in his camp,” Christian said. “They’re the only ones that know the real reason for that. Maybe they believe it has something to do with it, but the fact is, that’s not what led to his warrant.”
Christian said there is no way for him to know if the car in the cell phone video belongs to Pitt or when the video was taken. CBS 42 obtained the first page of the offense report from the sheriff’s office, but we were not allowed access to the other two pages of the report because of the ongoing investigation.
Jefferson County deputies are searching for Pitt.