NEW YORK - The NYPD said it has suspended an officer without pay after videos on social media appeared to show the man allegedly saying “Trump 2020” through the loudspeaker of a marked patrol car, a violation of department rules.
"Suspended without pay; The police officer who is under investigation for using a department vehicle's loudspeaker for political purposes has been suspended, effective immediately," the NYPD tweeted Sunday afternoon.
The videos appear to capture the officer bellowing his support of President Donald Trump from a marked police department SUV just before 10 p.m. Saturday. The vehicle was parked in a crosswalk with lights flashing in Brooklyn’s Flatbush Flatbush neighborhood.
“Trump 2020,” the officer is heard saying, taunting someone on the street who was recording him. “Put it on YouTube. Put it on Facebook. Trump 2020.”
“One hundred percent unacceptable. Period,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Law enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio promised swift action. “ANY NYPD Officer pushing ANY political agenda while on duty will face consequences," he tweeted.
While the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York endorsed Donald Trump for President in August, the Department's Patrol Guide prohibits officers from “endorsing political candidates or publicly expressing personal views and opinions” about candidates while on duty or in uniform.
The incident happened days after NYPD officials downplayed concerns that Trump's support among law enforcement personnel, including a city police union’s endorsement, would impact how officers do their jobs — particularly when dealing with people voting or protesting against the president.
“When we put on this uniform, we are apolitical,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. “We have no stance in one way or another.”
Trump, a Republican, has campaigned for reelection on a law-and-order agenda, portraying himself as a counterweight to the police reform protests that erupted across the U.S. in recent months.
Many police officers also support Trump, viewing him as more of an ally to their pro-police “Blue Lives Matter” and “Back the Blue” movements than his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
De Blasio, a Democrat, said last week that he didn’t think officers would let their personal political views bleed into their professional responsibilities.
“You’re going to have police officers that have views across the spectrum, but I also think we’ve seen overwhelmingly officers leave their politics at home and they go and do what has to be done to keep people safe and to respect peaceful protest,” de Blasio said at a news briefing last Tuesday.
“Any officer who can’t or won’t do that we have to discipline and we have to address, but I don’t get an indication that that is a widespread challenge.”
With the Associated Press.
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