For the second time, an employee in the California Department of Justice was caught impersonating as a sworn law enforcement officer. California Attorney General and Democratic Senate candidate Kamala Harris’ office was rocked last month when one of her direct aides was arrested on charges of impersonating a police officer after he took a leading role in setting up a fake police department. Harris has made no comment on either case.
The Attorney General is again under fire for withholding information that that there was an investigation of a secretary in her department who was convicted of unlawfully using one of the department’s badges to pose as a deputy attorney general last year.
Adrienne Mayr, while a secretary a secretary with the Department of Justice, was arrested after repeatedly flashed the badge of a deceased deputy attorney general at drivers on Los Angeles County road. He also once used his car and the badge to pull over and trap a mother and child at an intersection.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Doris Peniche told the Los Angeles Times that after Mayr was arrested for exhibiting a badge to defraud, receiving stolen property, child endangerment and false imprisonment, she was charged her with unlawful use of a badge and impersonating a sworn public officer. Mayr has since pleaded no contest to using the badge and the second charge was dismissed, according to the court docket. Despite criminal charges, Mayr appears to only be paying fees and fines.
The Times reported that when confronted, Kamala Harris’ spokesman David Beltran acknowledged the department was aware of the case. “We have an ongoing personnel investigation into the matter. We can’t comment on disciplinary action that may be taken, but this case is serious and troubling,” Beltran said. “After the personnel investigation is completed, appropriate action will be taken.”
California Attorney General and 2016 Democratic Senate candidate Kamala Harris’ departmental lack of transparency comes after last month’s bazaar revelation that Harris’ Deputy Director of Community Affairs Brandon Kiel was put on paid leave after being arrested on charges of impersonating a police officer and with misusing his government I.D.
Investigators would later discover that Kiel also allegedly set up a fake police department with two other co-conspirators, David Henry and Tonette Hayes. They allegedly claimed to represent the Masonic Fraternal Police Department, a group they said had jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico and that traces its roots back 3,000 years to the Order of the Knights Templar, which led the First Crusade from 1096 to 1099 AD.
Brandon Kiel is facing six criminal counts of impersonating a sworn peace officer and is expected back in court next month after being arraigned. Beltran said as Harris’ department spokesman that Kiel was placed also on paid leave pending both internal and criminal investigations and that Harris has received regular briefings on the case.
The California Highway Patrol began investigating Mayer after receiving a complaint from a driver in Whittier that a woman had waved a badge and accosted her several times while driving in March 2014.
Mayr on April 8 allegedly flashed the badge and then used her car to box in the woman and her 11-year-old daughter in the middle of an intersection. The two women engaged in a confrontation until Mayer moved out of the intersection. The Whittier woman used her cell phone to take a picture of Mayer’s license plate and later showed it to police.
Mayr told investigators the badge was a keepsake from one of her late colleague and she didn’t use it “very often,” except to cut in line in court to retrieve documents. The deceased badge holder’s wife and son both told investigators they had never met Mayer and did not give permission to anyone to have the badge, according to the CBS News Los Angeles affiliate.