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Jazz’ Polynice Faces Charge

December 9, 2000

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ For the second time in two months, Utah Jazz center Olden Polynice was charged Friday with impersonating a police officer stemming from a conflict with another motorist.

Prosecutor Simarjit Gill said in the misdemeanor complaint that Mark and Patti Schneller were driving downtown Sept. 13 when a car drove past and almost hit them.

In a separate case, Polynice was charged last month after a West Valley City couple accused him of chasing them to their home and flashing an apparent police badge on Oct. 28.

``All I can say right now is it’s a serious matter,″ said Polynice’s lawyer, Wally Bugden. ``We’re going to respond in court. We’re working toward trying to resolve both these cases.″

According to a police report in the complaint filed Friday, Mark Schneller responded after being cut off by making a rude gesture. That prompted the other car’s driver to stop.

The driver, whom the Schnellers identified as Polynice, then flashed a badge and said: ``I’m with the California Sheriff’s Office and I can have you arrested,″ according to Gill.

Polynice has said the badge is an honorary police badge from the Los Angeles Police Department.

In the October case, Polynice was charged with impersonating a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Police said an argument broke out and Polynice flashed the badge. The couple didn’t recognize the 7-foot man as a Jazz player but wrote down his license plate, allowing investigators to track him down.

In that incident, Polynice told authorities he was cut off in traffic.

The maximum punishment for impersonating a police officer is six months in jail and a $1,850 fine.

No hearing date has been set in either case. Bugden said he is optimistic the charges can be resolved early next month.

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