David Henry, who led a Los Angeles County–based organization that styled itself after police and freemasons—despite probably being neither—died aged 47 on Monday.
According to The Los Angeles Times, his death all but closes the investigation into whether teaming up with his friends and family members, dressing in his police costume—or even his "Illuminati Grandmaster Henry X" costume—and going around to local businesses claiming to be some kind of law enforcement officer, constituted a crime.
According to the Times report, Henry appeared in a courtroom on Monday morning in the city of San Fernando to see charges of impersonating a police officer and improper use of a government-issued ID card against his son-in-law Brandon Kiel, dropped. That was just hours before Henry died from a pulmonary embolism at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, his lawyer Gary Casselman told the Times.
One defendant, Henry's associate Tonette Hayes, who is in her late forties, still apparently faces charges on four counts of misdemeanor police impersonation. According to The Guardian, David Henry was being charged with impersonating a police officer, and perjury.
Henry's legal trouble began in May of last year when he, Hayes, and Kiel were all arrested for impersonating police officers as a result of their membership in Henry's group, known as the Masonic Fraternal Police Department. The story attracted even more attention with the revelation that Kiel worked for California Attorney General Kamala Harris at the time of his alleged impersonations. According to a YouTube video Henry posted in June of last year (above), the charges were an attempt to interfere with Harris' campaign.
The now-defunct website for the group (which is archived here) claimed at the time that the Knights Templar had founded the Masonic Fraternal Police Department in 1100 BC, and that their police force—which had jurisdiction not just in the US, but in Mexico—was "the oldest and most respected organization in the 'World.'"
The Masonic Fraternal Police Department first aroused the suspicion of established law enforcement in the LA area in 2014, according to the Times, when Henry and other members of his organization walked into an LA County Sheriff's office in Santa Clarita. They wore police uniforms, and told deputies that they were going to begin their own version of law enforcement operations in the area.
Casselman questioned the validity of the charges to the Times on Monday, saying that instead of charging the defendants, officers"could have told Mr. Henry and Ms. Hayes and Mr. Kiel, 'Listen, this is not a good idea. Someone might think you are impersonating a police officer.'"
A spokesperson for Kamala Harris told VICE last year that Kiel had been placed on administrative leave. The Times confirmed Monday that he is no longer employed by the state, and is now hoping to attend grad school.
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