A Florida man has been charged with pretending to be a deputy U.S. marshal after his vehicle was blocked by demonstrators protesting against police brutality, authorities said Wednesday.
John Wesley Mobley Jr., 36, of Orlando, faces one count of false impersonation of a federal officer, according to a criminal complaint. If convicted, he faces up to three years in federal prison.
Demonstrations, as well as riots, have occurred throughout Florida and the U.S. in response to a black man dying last week following his arrest by Minneapolis police. Mobley was driving in Orlando on Sunday when he was forced to stop his vehicle for passing protesters, federal prosecutors said.
Mobley exited his vehicle, approached the protesters, pulled out what appeared to be a law enforcement badge and threatened to arrest them, authorities said.
Orlando police officers learned that Mobley was in a crowd of protesters with a firearm in his waistband. Two officers approached and removed Mobley from a crowd. They said he was carrying a replica pistol, metal handcuffs and a silver badge with the words “United States Marshal” written on the front.
Mobley has two prior convictions for impersonating a member of law enforcement, according to court records.
Online court records didn't list an attorney for Mobley.