Officers with the Tulsa Police Department arrested a man who pretended to be a federal marshal and attempted to steal an Audi from a car dealership.
Dealership employees said they told the man, identified as Randy Cantwell, that the Audi could not be taken out for a test drive. But Cantwell was persistent, declaring that the dealership had stolen the car and that it was within his authority as a federal marshal to repossess it.
Cantwell's attempt to drive off the lot proved fruitless. Realizing he was stuck once employees blocked the dealership's exits, he opted to walk away from the lot.
The Tulsa Police Department noted that officers arrived on the scene and spoke with Cantwell, who provided his identification but could provide no proof that he was a federal marshal. Cantwell also claimed that he became a federal marshal when former President Donald Trump "enacted martial law."
Former President Trump never declared martial law while in office, though many of his supporters have wrestled with "fantasies" that he might declare martial law in swing states that he lost in the 2020 general election.
A screenshot of a tweet from an account allegedly belonging to Trump announcing that he'd invoked martial law made the rounds in December 2020, in the aftermath of Democratic President Joe Biden's win and as the Trump White House ramped up its campaign to overturn the election results.
The tweet was ultimately proven to be fake but that did not stop the former President's most enthusiastic supporters, QAnon adherents and assorted conspiracy theorists among them, from declaring that the process of "draining the swamp" had begun or that the tweet had been removed from Trump's Twitter account by the opposition.
Cantwell was arrested for false impersonation of law enforcement.
The news of his arrest soon garnered significant social media attention and he was widely mocked online.
Suggestions that the Trump administration should have invoked martial law–and should do so anyway should Trump run for office again and take power in 2024–continue to permeate right wing circles.
Last year, Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Advisor, after he appeared to endorse an overthrow of the United States government.
"No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That's right," Flynn responded to a member of the audience at a Dallas event who inquired whether a coup not unlike the one that happened in Myanmar in February 2021.
Lawyer Sidney Powell, who has represented Flynn in the past, insisted Flynn had not encouraged "any act of violence or any military insurrection." She attributed the furor surrounding Flynn's comments to media distortion.
A Parler account belonging to Flynn later claimed that his comments were taken out of context.
However, in December 2021 Flynn shared an advertisement from the We the People Convention, an Ohio activist group, which called for Trump "to exercise the Extraordinary Powers of his office and declare limited Martial Law" to suspend the United States Constitution and civilian control of federal elections.
The ad said such a move would be necessary "in order to have the military implement a national re-vote that reflects the true will of the people," reiterating Trump's blatant lies that the 2020 election had been stolen.