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David Bradley takes insanity plea in police impersonation case

David Bradley, 41, of Port Jefferson Station was

David Bradley, 41, of Port Jefferson Station was arrested by Suffolk County police on charges of impersonating a federal agent and posing as a law enforcement officer. (June 12, 2012) Credit: SCPD

A former insurance executive took an insanity plea Tuesday to charges that he was impersonating a federal immigration agent, handcuffing people he encountered in traffic incidents and, in one case, taking a man to his Port Jefferson Station home.

David Bradley, 41, was arrested after an increasingly bizarre series of events that ended on June 10, 2012, when he told a man he was taking him to his "office," but instead took him to his home. A few days earlier, Bradley had pulled over another man after a traffic dispute, handcuffed him and berated him, asking if he was a drug dealer before letting him go, said Assistant District Attorney Stacy Skorupa.

"I'm a special agent, Homeland Security," Bradley told the man as he let him go, according to Skorupa. "Next time, you might not be so lucky. You might get some wacko."

Bradley was charged with second-degree kidnapping, impersonating a police officer and other charges. If convicted, he would have faced a maximum of 25 years in prison.

State Supreme Court Justice John Collins accepted the plea of not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect Tuesday, which both prosecutors and Bradley's attorney said was appropriate, given his diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder and substance abuse, and a psychiatric history that dated to when Bradley was 8 years old.

"He's going to get the help that he needs," said defense attorney William Ferris. "This is an appropriate exercise of justice."

Despite Bradley's display of a gun, prosecutors did not require that Bradley be found dangerous as a condition of his plea. During the incidents, Bradley wore a shield indicating he was a federal agent and a bulletproof vest, and he sometimes stopped people by turning on flashing blue lights he had installed in his Mercedes-Benz.

Collins gently explained to Bradley what could happen to him next before Bradley entered his plea.

Bradley now will be examined at a state psychiatric hospital. If those exams and a hearing before Collins on Sept. 29 establish that he's not dangerous, Bradley could soon be transferred to a nonsecure psychiatric hospital, such as Pilgrim State in Brentwood. If he is found to be dangerous, he would be held in a secure hospital and re-evaluated every two years.

Assistant District Attorney Guy Arcidiacono told Collins the plea was the right one in this case.

"Clearly, the defendant has some emotional problems," Arcidiacono said. "The plea ensures he gets the help he needs, and it ensures the safety of the residents of Suffolk County."

Collins said he was satisfied that if there had been a trial, prosecutors would not have been able to disprove a defense of mental disease or defect.

As Bradley left the courtroom, Collins told him, "You take care of yourself, OK?"