Men refusing to wear masks at South Florida hotel arrested after impersonating authorities, officials say

Bianca Padró Ocasio
·2 min read

Two men who authorities say pretended to be officials with the U.S. Marshals Service when they were asked to wear masks were arrested last week at a Deerfield Beach hotel, according to a federal complaint.

Walter Wayne Brown Jr., 53, and Gary Brummett, 81, were arrested Feb. 11 after police say they threatened to arrest staff at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort when hotel employees asked them repeatedly to wear masks, as part of the resort’s policy.

They were both wearing fake badges around their belts that appeared “authentic,” with a seven-point star that read “Cherokee Nation Marshal,” according to the federal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Walter Wayne Brown Jr., 53, was arrested on Feb. 11 for impersonating a U.S. marshal. He threatened to arrest staff at a Deerfield hotel after he refused to wear a mask, according to a federal complaint.
Walter Wayne Brown Jr., 53, was arrested on Feb. 11 for impersonating a U.S. marshal. He threatened to arrest staff at a Deerfield hotel after he refused to wear a mask, according to a federal complaint.

The document shows that Brown and Brummett were also wearing a laminated card that claimed they were both exempted from wearing masks because of an alleged medical condition that they did not have to disclose because of the American Disabilities Act.

The hotel’s assistant front office manager told deputies from the Broward Sheriff’s Office that Brummett said forcing him to wear a mask could make the resort liable for $75,000.

“Do you know what this means?” Brummett asked the manager, pointing to the badge on his belt. “I’m a U.S. marshal and can have you arrested if you force me to wear a mask.”

The front desk manager said her cousin was an official with the federal law enforcement agency and “would not conduct themselves in that manner.”

Federal authorities say a personnel check confirmed neither man had ever been employed by the U.S. Marshals Service or the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, which is headquartered in North Carolina and Oklahoma. The badges they both were wearing were fake, officials say.

Gary Brummett, 81, was arrested on Feb. 11 on a charge of impersonating a U.S. marshal. He threatened to arrest staff at a Deerfield hotel after he refused to wear a mask, according to a federal complaint.
Gary Brummett, 81, was arrested on Feb. 11 on a charge of impersonating a U.S. marshal. He threatened to arrest staff at a Deerfield hotel after he refused to wear a mask, according to a federal complaint.

Authorities say Brown was with his son, who agreed to wear a mask. But Brown told a different manager that he would not be wearing a mask because he was medically exempt. He also threatened to have the hotel employee arrested if he was forced to wear a mask.

Both men are being held at the Joseph V. Conte jail in Pompano Beach without bond, according to records from the Broward Sheriff’s Office.