Atlantic City NJ.
Veterans day. A day for remembering our veterans, Honoring those who served, And in the case of Michael Porter it was the perfect day for stealing valor. Granted, there are hundreds if not thousands of cases of stolen valor, More so on Veterans day. What makes this case unique is in New Jersey, He is the first to get charged under New Jerseys Stolen Valor Act.
The New Jersey Stolen Valor Act, was introduced January 15 2015, this year, by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, and co-sponsored by Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez. In short if you receive goods, or services, for military service or honors you did not receive you are stealing valor and it’s a third degree crime, And a minimum fine of $1,000.00. Vince reached out to us when he wrote the bill, and asked us for our support, which we provided.
(N.J.S.38A:14-5 is amended to read as follows:
9 38A:14-5. Any person who knowingly, with intent to impersonate and with intent to deceive, misrepresents [himself] oneself as a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces or organized militia by wearing the uniform or any medal or insignia authorized for use by the members or veterans of the United States Armed Forces or the organized militia, by Federal and State laws and regulations, shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.)
Mr. Porter obviously didn’t do his homework, As you can tell from the provided pictures, His uniform was a dead giveaway. He was claiming to be a Sgt in the United States Army, that he was Airborne, And an MP. He was carrying handcuffs, and a radio capable of receiving police and fire dept transmissions. He was arrested and charged with impersonating military personnel / Stolen Valor.
In speaking with the arresting officer in an exclusive interview, we have learned that Mr. Porter was already known by law enforcement. That Day, Veterans Day, Mr. Porter was dressed in Full ACU’s, Bearing the Airborne patch, MP Patch and Radio. As the officer noticed he was walking down the road, about half a mile from the base, and no one was stopping to help this soldier. As the officer stopped he noticed the radio and thought there was a search for someone on the base, and asked Mr. Porter if he needed assistance. When the officer recognized Mr. Porter he proceeded to question him.
Michael had no true answers to any of the officer’s questions, however he was in possession of a radio programmed with local and state channels. He continued to claim, and maintains his claim that he was indeed United states army. He has never served.
Since the publication of this story on other outlets, people have asked he be given a free pass because he might be mentally ill. This is becoming one of the most common excuses we hear for those that do this.
Let me say this, he was found in possession of a radio that could receive police, fire, and emergency frequencies, He was in possession of a pair of handcuffs, and handcuff key. He could have potentially hurt someone. With his Radio, he could have caused a lot of harm. What Mr. Porter did was not only wrong on a moral level, Stealing Valor, Impersonating military personnel, but it was reckless. This man broke the law, spent a lot of time trying to be authentic, so this was premeditated.