Press "Enter" to skip to content

Top hats and gold cuffs: the curious case of California’s fake masonic police force…A trio has been charged with impersonating police officers – among them an aide to state attorney general and Democratic Kamala Harris

A minister, an aide to the attorney general of California and a purported Emmy winner could face up to a year in county jail, after they were arrested in late April for posing as members of a fictional police department supposedly tied to the Knights Templar.

Reverend Tonette Hayes, 56, Brandon Kiel, 36, and 46-year-old David Henry, Kiel’s father-in-law, claimed to be members of the Masonic Fraternal Police Department (MFPD). On its website, the group says it has existed for more than 3,000 years and has legal jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico.

Authorities disagree.

Police charged Kiel with six misdemeanor counts of impersonating a police officer and misuse of government identification. Henry was booked for perjury under oath and impersonating an officer, and Hayes was charged with four counts of impersonating an officer.

Reached by phone, Hayes declined to comment.

While none had legitimate law enforcement credentials, all three of those charged did apparently have strong ties to secretive societies with Masonic appearances. According to a 2014 story in the L A Watts Times, Henry and Kiel were members of Sir Brileys Knights of Luxor Knights Templars Grand Lodge AASR.

In their letter to police chiefs, the trio claimed 5,686 lodges were affiliated with their organization.

Henry, who was known as the Supreme Sovereign Grand Master David Henry X°, appeared in photos on the group’s Facebook page in flamboyant Masonic gear including a top hat, burgundy and gold cuffs and a traditional Masonic apron covered in symbols.

Kiel, who served as the RW Grand High Priest for the Lodge, also appeared in full regalia in a YouTube video of a Lodge event – in which Henry introduces Kiel by saying he will run for the US Senate in 2016.

Hayes is described as a member of both the Lady Jewel of the Nile Grand Chapter and the Order of the Eastern Stars, the latter a women’s group associated with Masons. Both of the two branches of Eastern Stars operating in California – the Grand Chapter and the Golden State Chapter – said Hayes was not a member.

Shirley Broadnax, grand secretary of the Golden State Eastern Stars, was skeptical that the Lady Jewel was a legitimate group.

“I know just about everything from coast to coast, and I ain’t never heard of that,” she said.