|Thanks to Stephen Brown for the photos|
If, like the Q, your Quriosity was piqued by the phrase "city marshal," then read on. I've seen this term used many times, and even seen marshals hanging around outside a place, looking very serious and determined. How do I know they were marshals? It was tough. But the word "marshal" written in large letters on their t-shirts and jackets gave it away. In bold, you can even tell where those marshals are from. You may have had reason to get to know NYC Marshal's up close and personal if you had your car towed for failure to pay tickets. If you didn't pony up the dough, the Marshal's sold it at auction and pocketed 5% of the money. That's right. They got a piece of the action. Deary me I had no idea.
They do all kinds of stuff, like evicting people from apartments and seizing property to pay off debts. In the case of Meytex it could well be that the restaurant owed a bunch of money to the landlord, who won a case against the establishment's proprietor, who, it would appear from the notice taped to the door, was using a fake name. If you were said landlord, you could then "hire" the Marshals to conduct the seizure. They would then sell off stuff til your judgment amount was reached AND take a cut of the earnings. You would of course also have payed them directly for their services. Nice, but weird, work if you can get it. They're empowered to garnish your paycheck as well. Oh, and the Mayor appoints these guys - all of them. Oh, and you shouldn't go around impersonating one. That's apparently illegal, despite the ease with which you could recreate the shirt and jacket.
In other words, in the case of CITY marshals, we've kinda outsourced the dirty work of enforcing Civil Court judgments. They're not actually City employees, rather appointed public officials. Who, as I've noted, get a cut of the action.
Now. The U.S. Marshals. You know all about them from honorary U.S. Marshal John Walsh of America's Most Wanted. If you need a good chuckle 'n' head-scratch, check out the puff piece they produced on themselves below. I'm particularly fond of the bit where Walsh says that you've probably seen the U.S. Marshals portrayed in countless films, and yes, those films "truly reflect the real life fortitude and integrity of the men and women who wear this star." So despite the fact that most of those films are fictions, and none of the films is actually named, you can rest assured that the portrayal of the U.S. Marshals is the real thing - pretty much anytime you see a movie. Perhaps the U.S. Marshals are monitoring the scripts?