Two men were arrested in Deerfield Beach, Florida after they allegedly impersonated U.S. Marshals to avoid having to wear masks while staying at a Wyndham Resort.
According to a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Walter Wayne Brown Jr., 52, and Gary Brummett, 81, were taken into custody on February 11 after a resort employee called actual law enforcement to check on the pair’s claims.
Per the complaint against the two men, they repeatedly told employees that they were U.S. marshals and indicated that they could have them arrested for asking them to comply with the resort’s mask protocols.
The complaint said Brummett approached the front desk for a coffee and gave multiple excuses for not wearing a mask. At first, he showed a laminated card that claimed he was exempt from wearing a mask. When staff persisted, he pointed to a badge on his belt.
“Do you know what this means,” he allegedly said. “I’m a U.S. marshal and can have you arrested if you force me to wear a mask.”
When deputies and a U.S. Marshall came to the hotel, they examined the pair’s badges. They read “Cherokee Nation Marshal.” The men also had ID cards that identified them as members of the Aniyvwiya Tribal Nation as well as cards that alleged they were exempt from masking.
“l am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public,” the card said. “Wearing a face mask poses a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I am not required to disclose my condition to you.”
The men were not, nor had they ever been U.S. Marshals. Cherokee Nation officials said that the men were not recognized members.
“The ‘Aniyvwiya Tribal Nation’ is not a federally recognized tribe nor affiliated in any way with the Cherokee Nation,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr told the Sun-Sentinel.
Both men are currently being held by the U.S. Marshal Service. They are scheduled to be arraigned on February 26.