Soul star Gerald Levert's borrowed deputy sheriff's badge got him into trouble when he was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio last year (FEB05).

The singer was fined and placed on probation after he was found guilty of obstructing police business during a traffic stop. Assault charges were later dropped.

Levert feels sure the situation got out of hand when one of the arresting cops found the sheriff's badge in the 38-year-old CASANOVA singer's wallet.

He says, "You get those (badges) when you go places a lot and you've got police that's your friends. They give you things.

"(The cop) opened up this wallet and he says, 'You think I give a s**t about a black man with a badge. You want to cause some trouble?'"

Levert had stepped out of his car to ask police if a friend, who was driving another car, needed a lift home after they were stopped for driving with a suspended licence.

A "third party" in his car also got out of the car, leaving the arresting officers fearful for their safety and one even sprayed Levert with mace.

He recalls, "It burned like hell. I've never felt anything like it. That's the worst feeling you ever want to have - to lay down and your head is just burning like it's on fire."