LAS VEGAS Nev. — A man made his initial appearance in federal court today for impersonating a law enforcement officer during a May 2020 protest relating to the death of George Floyd, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Zachary Sanns, 28, of New Jersey, is charged with one count of false personation of an officer or employee of the United States. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach scheduled a jury trial before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan on November 30, 2020.
According to court documents, during a protest in downtown Las Vegas on May 30, 2020, Sanns — who is not a sworn law enforcement officer — wore: (a) a tactical vest with magazine pouches and tactical patches identifying him as a federal law enforcement officer; (b) a ballistic helmet with night-vision goggles; (c) a gun belt with a pistol with an extended magazine; and (d) a Taser. In addition, Sanns had an AR-15 style rifle with an optic magnifier.
Throughout the course of the evening, the protest became boisterous, including towards officers. Sanns pretended to be a Special Agent of the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, an employee of the State Department, and a Department of Defense contractor. Further, Sanns falsely stated that he was a federal law enforcement officer and a federal agent, and sought to assist the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s response to civil unrest.
Sanns faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is the product of an investigation by the ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Burton is prosecuting the case.