Washington: A bizarre fake-police force group claiming to be descendants of ancient Knights Templar that included an aide to California Indian-American attorney general Kamala Harris has been arrested.
Besides Brandon Kiel, an aide to Harris, the group included David Henry and Tonette Hayes. All the three have been charged with impersonating police officers, the Los Angeles Times reported citing County Sheriff's Captain Roosevelt Johnson.
Harris has received regular briefings on the case since it began.
"The attorney general has been concerned about these serious allegations from the point she was first briefed on this investigation," David Beltran, a spokesman for the state Department of Justice told the Times.
"Our office has been cooperating with investigators from the beginning and will continue to do so."
Johnson, according to the Times, thought it was odd when three people - two of them dressed in police uniforms he didn't recognize - strolled into the Santa Clarita station in February.
One man introduced himself as chief of the Masonic Fraternal Police Department and told Johnson this was a courtesy call to let him know the agency was setting up shop in the area.
Henry, Hayes and Kiel had allegedly introduced themselves to police agencies across the state, though it is unclear why.
A website claiming to represent their force cites connections to the Knights Templars that they say go back 3,000 years. The site also said that the department had jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico.
"When asked what is the difference between the Masonic Fraternal Police Department and other police departments, the answer is simple for us. We were here first!" the website said.
Los Angeles County prosecutors said the whole effort was a ruse, though for what purpose remains unclear. The investigation is continuing.
During their search of two locations, police said, they recovered badges, ID cards, weapons, uniforms, police-type vehicles and other law enforcement equipment, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Kiel went by the title of "Deputy Director of Community Affairs" has been placed on administrative leave.
Henry (a grand master), Kiel (a grand high priest) and Hayes (a minister) were featured in 2012 photos published by the Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly African American-owned newspaper, it said.
Henry and Kiel also appear in a YouTube video posted last summer, with Kiel wearing a suit and bow tie and describing his official duties under Harris.