A police officer with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has been suspended without pay. The action was taken on Saturday after videos showed the police officer saying the words “Trump 2020” over the speaker of his patrol vehicle surfaced online. The videos were reposted several on social media.
Responding to the posts online, the official Twitter handle of the NYPD reposted one of the videos, stating that it was aware of the incident and that the BSIU has opened investigations on it. It gave an update on Sunday confirming the suspension of the offending police officer without pay was with immediate effect while being investigated.
“Let me be clear: ANY NYPD Officer pushing ANY political agenda while on duty will face consequences,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We will act fast here, and this will not be tolerated.”
Also reacting in a tweet, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who described the incident as “one hundred percent unacceptable”, stated that “Law Enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs.”
Though happenings before the recordings are however still sketchy, excerpts of the videos making rounds on social media show someone telling the police officer to “say it again”. In response to these words, the officer could be heard over the speaker saying “Trump 2020”. The person behind the camera is then heard calling the officer an “f….. fascist”.
Describing the incident as a “commotion”, a New York City screenwriter living in the Flatbush area, Hines Brandon, 34, said he witnessed the episode together with his roommate. He said he went to the scene to see things for himself after he heard arguments between the officer and another resident. His roommate recorded the incident which he posted the same night.
This incident seemed to have coincidentally taken place on the same day (Saturday) which happened to be the commencement of New York City in-person early voting. Residents had turned out in their thousands to vote at polling locations in five districts.
In a related development last week, the Miami Police Department opened up investigations after photographs of a uniformed police officer wearing a mask with the inscription “Trump 2020” went viral. Mayor of Miami, Francis X. Suarez, responding to that incident, had tweeted about the officer is under investigation, promising that disciplinary actions will be taken. Miami City Police Chief, Jorge Colina, also condemning the act, stated that the officer conducted himself in an unacceptable manner which was contrary to departmental policies.
It is prohibited for police officers in uniform to endorse any political candidate. They are also prohibited from airing personal opinions on political issues or individuals. This is all stated in the police patrol guide.