Hero Teen Who Impersonated a State Senator and Toured a School Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge

Illustration for article titled Hero Teen Who Impersonated a State Senator and Toured a School Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge

Izaha Akins, the hero Ohio teenager who pretended to be a state senator in order to achieve every teen’s dream of addressing a high school government class, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge. They got him on “impersonating a peace officer,” which doesn’t sound quite right.

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Akins, 18, spoke to a government class at Mohawk High School in Sycamore, Ohio in December. He did that by just showing up and claiming that he was replacing State Senator Dave Burke. Not just replacing him as a speaker; he claimed that Burke had resigned from his office and Akins was his replacement.

Mohawk School District Superintendent Ken Ratliff insisted at the time that the whole thing was very convincing, the Washington Post reported, and that Akins showed up with a driver and two “aides.”

“The presentation, although not ‘polished,’ was what one might expect from a young, inexperienced and newly appointed senator,” Ratliff said in a statement. “No one was the wiser.” They only realized their error when Burke, the actual state senator, showed up to speak a month later.

OK, fine, but—by way of a counterpoint—here’s a video that claims to be Akins’ actual presentation. He is wearing a T-shirt. He looks like a teenager. He is... really, guys?

Akins pleaded guilty Monday to the charge and will likely be sentenced to probation. The DA’s office says “peace officer” covers any government worker, like, say, a state senator. They’ve requested three years probation when Akins is sentenced. The teen previously faced an additional charge of telecommunications fraud, which was dropped.


Akins’ booking photo via Wyandot County Sheriff’s Office/picture of Actual State Senator Dave Burke via YouTube/Ohio Senate GOP

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

DISCUSSION

“The DA’s office says “peace officer” covers any government worker, like, say, a state senator.”

This sounds like utter bullshit.

2921.51 Impersonation of peace officer or private police officer.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) “Peace officer” means a sheriff, deputy sheriff, marshal, deputy marshal, member of the organized police department of a municipal corporation, or township constable, who is employed by a political subdivision of this state ; a member of a police force employed by a metropolitan housing authority under division (D) of section 3735.31 of the Revised Code ; a member of a police force employed by a regional transit authority under division (Y) of section 306.35 of the Revised Code ; a state university law enforcement officer appointed under section 3345.04 of the Revised Code ; a veterans’ home police officer appointed under section 5907.02 of the Revised Code ; a special police officer employed by a port authority under section 4582.04 or 4582.28 of the Revised Code ; an officer, agent, or employee of the state or any of its agencies, instrumentalities, or political subdivisions, upon whom, by statute, a duty to conserve the peace or to enforce all or certain laws is imposed and the authority to arrest violators is conferred, within limits of that statutory duty and authority; or a state highway patrol trooper whose primary duties are to preserve the peace, to protect life and property, and to enforce the laws, ordinances, or rules of the state or any of its political subdivisions.

So. Pretty sure Ohio State Senators don’t have the authority to arrest people.