An aide to U.S. Senate candidate and California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) was arrested last week on suspicion of impersonating a police officer as part of a supposed 3,000-year-old “Masonic Fraternal Police Department,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Brandon Kiel, deputy director of community affairs at the California Department of Justice, was accused of belonging to the rogue police force, according to the newspaper. Kiel was also charged with misusing government identification. A spokesperson for the department told the Times that Kiel was placed on administrative leave.
Kiel was arrested along with two other people, David Henry, 46, and Tonette Hayes, 56, who were also accused of impersonating police officers, the newspaper reported. The Times made no mention of attempts to get comment from the suspects or their attorneys.
The group claims kinship with the Knights Templar, a fabled medieval Christian military order, according to its website.
The Times reported that an investigation began shortly after police chiefs in Southern California received a letter from the group in late January from a man claiming to be Kiel, who was identified as the masonic police group’s “chief deputy director.”
The letter proposed meeting with several police departments in light of the masonic group’s recent changes in leadership, according to the paper.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Roosevelt Johnson reportedly met with the group, became concerned and began to look into it.
The sheriff’s office searched two of the group’s purported stations in Santa Clarita and found weapons and uniforms, the Times reported.
The Masonic Fraternal Police Department’s website boasted of its service through the centuries and the “bloodline” of its members.
“We are not ‘Sovereign Citizens’ nor do we condone terrorist activity, sovereign citizens or clandestine!” the site’s “About” page read.
“The Masonic Fraternal Police Department (M.F.P.D.) provides services to Masonic Sovereign Grand Masters and their Masonic Jurisdictions, as well as other Fraternities, Sororities and Greek Organizations,” it read.