Capitol Alert

California Masons seek distance from Masonic Fraternal Police Department after arrests

This April 30, 2015, booking photo provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, shows Brandon Kiel, who was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police officer through his role in an organization known as the Masonic Fraternal Police Department, sheriff's authorities said. Kiel and two others are accused of operating a rogue police force that claims to have been in existence for more than 3,000 years and has jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico, authorities said Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
This April 30, 2015, booking photo provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, shows Brandon Kiel, who was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police officer through his role in an organization known as the Masonic Fraternal Police Department, sheriff's authorities said. Kiel and two others are accused of operating a rogue police force that claims to have been in existence for more than 3,000 years and has jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico, authorities said Tuesday, May 5, 2015. AP

The three people arrested for allegedly impersonating officers as part of the Masonic Fraternal Police Department in Los Angeles have no ties to the Masons of California, a spokeswoman for the statewide umbrella group said Thursday.

“We are so not affiliated with them that I wouldn’t even know where to point you,” Emily Limón said.

The arrests of Brandon Kiel, a community affairs liaison to Attorney General Kamala Harris, and two others said to be operating as part of the rogue law enforcement group have renewed focus on the Masons, the world’s first and largest fraternity.

Authorities say Kiel referred to himself as “chief deputy director” of the MFPD, which on its website claims jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico and dates back to 1100 B.C. “Chief” David Henry, a grand master in the Masons, was reportedly taken into custody wearing a phony police uniform.

The MFPD contends that grand masters in various states face serious safety concerns for their jurisdictions and family members.

Limón said she’s never heard of Masonic lodges forming their own security ranks, let alone police departments, and has never seen any need to do so.

She pointed to her group’s website, which says Masonry is based on the belief that “each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place.”

“Masonry is a brotherhood of like-minded men who genuinely care about each other,” the statement said. “We develop lifelong friendships with fellow Masons and their families, and are welcomed at Masonic lodges throughout the United States and the world.”

Margaret C. Jacob, a history professor at UCLA and an expert on freemasonry, agreed with Limón about the unusual nature of the MFPD.

“There is nothing normal about” it, Jacob wrote in an email. “It all is bizarre.”

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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