Minnesota man with history of imitating police busted again

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A man with a history of pretending to be a law enforcement officer was arrested in Minnesota after a TikTok user alerted a woman he was dating that he was faking it again.

Authorities said in a complaint filed Friday that Reyel Devon Simmons, 52, of Dodge Center, Minnesota, used the name “Rey Reeves” and regularly held himself out as a federal agent on social media. He is charged in federal court in Minneapolis with impersonating a federal officer.

Simmons’ profile photo on TikTok showed him wearing law enforcement gear. He made several posts displaying police equipment, badges, and firearms and referred “explicitly and implicitly” to himself as a federal agent, authorities said. He had more than 10,000 followers on TikTok, including one woman from Georgia who began a romantic relationship with him.

The woman, who dated Simmons for about eight months, eventually went to the FBI after a TikTok user posted about Simmons impersonating a police officer “again” and later shared information with her about his true identity and previous arrests. Simmons was charged with two counts of impersonating an officer in Colorado, both in 2004.

Federal authorities discovered that Simmons has been married since 2015 and has been working as a temporary employee at Shutterfly in a Minneapolis suburb.

The woman told investigators that Simmons regularly carried a handgun in a holster on his hip, carried a badge and law enforcement credentials and wore law enforcement attire, including a Homeland Security Investigations t-shirt and backpack that he called his “go bag.” She said when she came to visit they would stay in a hotel in Minneapolis Simmons said was courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security because he was working undercover in the area.

Simmons drove an Ford F-150 pickup equipped with a police radio inside and a light bar package on the front bumper, the woman told authorities. He regularly talked on the radio with other people she believed to be federal agents

Authorities say Simmons’ criminal record includes convictions in 2007 for felony menacing and misdemeanor assault and in 20015 for two felony soliciting prostitution charges, all in Colorado.

A detention hearing for Simmons is scheduled Wednesday in Minneapolis federal court. A federal public defender could not be reached for comment Monday night.