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Men pose as US marshals to avoid wearing face masks at Florida resort, officials say




DEERFIELD BEACH, Florida. Two men are accused of posing as Federal Marshals and posting fake ID to avoid wearing headwear at a resort hotel in South Florida.

When Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort staff asked Walter Wayne Brown Jr., 53, and Gary Brummett, 81, to cover their faces, the men refused and threatened to arrest the employees and convict the fined hotel, the South Florida SunSentinel. reported.

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The scheme collapsed when an employee thought they were acting suspiciously and called the police on February 11. Officers and a real US Marshal arrived and arrested the men on charges of posing as a federal officer.

A hotel manager told investigators Brummett went to the front desk earlier this month to ask for coffee, then pretended to be a marshal when asked to put on a mask, according to a federal complaint. He then flashed a plastic card indicating that he was medically exempt from wearing a mask.

According to the complaint, when the principal asked him again to put on a mask, Brummett pointed to a badge he was wearing on his belt. Do you know what that means, he said. I am an American Marshal and I can get you arrested if you force me to wear a mask.

Two days earlier, employees had had a similar confrontation with Brown Jr. when he first checked in at the hotel, the newspaper reported.

They told investigators an employee gave Brown Jr. a mask and asked him to wear it. But he said he was a federal agent and didn’t have to, according to the complaint. He also wore a badge on his belt and a map around his neck.

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The next day, Brown Jr. returned to the front desk to extend his stay. When the manager asked him to wear a mask, he threatened to have the staff arrested, according to the complaint.

An employee told investigators her cousin was a U.S. Marshal and she knew they wouldn’t act that way.

On February 11, police found the couple having dinner at a restaurant in the resort. They wore authentic circular badges that read Cherokee Nation Marshal, according to the complaint.

Investigators learned that the men had previously been employed as U.S. marshals or by the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, according to the complaint.

The mask-free cards the men wore around their necks were also fake, according to the complaint.

They were arrested and remain incarcerated in Broward County. The prison records did not mention lawyers for them.

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