Two men arrested after posing as US Marshalls to avoid wearing masks

Two men arrested after posing as US Marshalls to avoid wearing masks
Broward Sheriffs Office

Two men who posed as U.S. Marshalls and provided fake credentials are now behind bars.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, when anti-maskers Walter Wayne Brown Jr., 53, and Gary Brummett, 81, arrived at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort in Florida, they were asked to wear masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of simply complying with the hotel's mitigation guidelines, the two lied about their identities by claiming they were federal employees. While many hotel staffers believed the men, a manager was not convinced that they were who they claimed to be. Their encounters with hotel staff were included in the criminal complaint documenting their stay at the hotel the second week in Feb. It also detailed the series of events that led to their arrests.

Brummett provided the hotel manager with a laminated card that said "he was medically exempt from wearing" a mask. When the manager asked once again, Brummett flashed a badge attached to his belt. "Do you know what this means," Brummett said, according to the complaint, "I'm a U.S. marshal and can have you arrested if you force me to wear a mask."

The publication reports that the "Facemask Exempt Notice/Card" the men had also included a notice that read: "Wearing a face mask poses a mental and/or physical risk to me," the cards read. "Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am not required to disclose my condition to you." The cards said businesses also include a disclaimer warning that a violation of the ADA could result in a $75,000 fine.

At one point during their stay, Brown Jr. was given a mask and asked to wear it. Like Brummett, he declined as he "pointed to a badge on his belt and a card around his neck." The next day, Brown Jr. went to the front desk requesting to extend his stay. When asked to put on a mask, he threatened to have the hotel staffer arrested. The stunt at the front desk raised staffers' suspicions about the two.

After staffers called the police, Brummett and Brown Jr. were confronted by officers and their badges were confiscated. Background checks revealed that neither of them were employees of the " U.S. Marshals Service or the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service" as they'd previously claimed.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. also spoke with the publication and confirmed the two men were not members of his tribe. Both men have been arrested and charged with impersonating a federal officer. The two are still in custody.

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