Family says Alabama youth pastor impersonated officer as a part of God’s ‘plan’
The parents of an Alabama youth pastor said this week that their son was experiencing a “test of faith” after his probation was revoked for impersonating an officer of the law for the second time.
A Shelby County judge on Tuesday ordered that Matt Pitt, founder of Christian youth ministry The Basement, spend the next 10 months in behind bars. Pitt had been caught impersonating an officer while he was on probation for pleading guilty to a similar charge in 2012.
Brandon Vessell had testified that Pitt had flashed a badge when he confronted him about a rifle in June. During the hearing, it was also revealed that Pitt had drugs in his system at the time of his arrest. Sgt. Chris Sharit of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department notified the court that the arrest occurred after he reviewed an interview Pitt did with WTVM that showed the youth pastor intoxicated.
“He had drugs in his system,” Shelby County District Attorney Robbie Owens explained. “But he also had numerous prescriptions for drugs. The question better asked is whether or not the drugs in his system were taken as therapeutic doses, in other words, were they overtaken.”
Defense attorney Daniel Bowman, however, argued that Pitt had a prescription for all of the medications in his system and “none of it was being abused.”
Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens told AL.com that he regretted giving Pitt a second chance.
“In this job sometimes you just take risks on people, give people a chance,” Owens said. “Everybody makes mistakes and you can’t judge what might happen in the future.”
“Believe me, I had to get my neck way out there,” he added. “He had violated terms of probation in so many different ways that I didn’t need to get into something that I didn’t need to get into.”
“If you’re on probation and you decide to fist fight the police you’re going to get revoked.”
But parents Larry and Missy Pitt insisted to reporters that the arrest was part of God’s plan.
“It’s just a test of faith, to stay strong and believe that God’s going to do the right thing, which I know he will,” Larry Pitt remarked. “If you read through the Bible, different testimonies of different situations. A lot of men went through a lot of situations. God’s got a plan and I know he’ll prevail on this.”
Watch this video from WTVM, broadcast Oct. 15, 2013.