The deputy director of community affairs at the California Department of Justice and two others were arrested last week for allegedly impersonating a police officer while claiming to be part of the Masonic Fraternal Police Department, authorities announced Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Brandon Kiel, 31, was put on administrative leave from the state DOJ following his arrest in Santa Clarita, where the rogue police department claims to be based. Kiel also reportedly misused his government ID, but it is unclear how.
David Henry, the Masonic police organization’s chief of police, and Tonette Hayes were also arrested there. Henry claims to be an Illuminate grand master, according his Google Plus social media account.
Authorities reportedly found law enforcement-style uniforms, weapons, cars and IDs in the suspects’ possession, CBS2 News reported.
Henry is prominently displayed in uniform on the website, which claims to have been in existence longer than other police departments.
“We are born into this Organization our bloodlines go deeper then an application,” the website reads. “This is more then a job it is an obligation.”
The organization claims to have ties to the Knights Templar, a group with powerful ties to the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, some 3,000 years ago.
Before being transferred to the voicemail of a spokesperson for the Masons of California, Guns.com was told by the individual who answered the phone that there are no ties between the two organizations.
Officials in the Santa Clarita Valley office of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department found out about the Masonic police department after reportedly receiving letters from the group announcing its new leadership. Authorities also received calls from the group asking to meet.
CBS2 News found a photo of Henry and Kiel in Masonic regalia taken in 2012 with Rep. Maxine Waters. The pair were also seen on camera at a Los Angeles Police Department press conference asking for peaceful protests after the George Zimmerman verdict.
Authorities are still investigating the rogue police department and are looking for others involved. Investigators are also still unclear about the Masonic police department’s purpose.