A New York City police officer was quickly suspended without pay Sunday after he was videotaped apparently blaring “Trump 2020” from his patrol car loudspeaker in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Brooklyn.
The incident occurred Saturday, the first day of early voting in the city.
“The police officer who is under investigation for using a department vehicle’s loudspeaker for political purposes has been suspended, effective immediately,” the New York Police Department said on its official NYPD News Twitter account.
The department launched an investigation into the incident with a warning that “police officers must remain apolitical.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also initiated a probe, promising quick consequences for any officer “pushing any political agenda” on duty.
Suspended without pay; The police officer who is under investigation for using a department vehicle’s loud speaker for political purposes has been suspended, effective immediately.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) October 25, 2020
Neighbors filmed the unidentified officer blaring “Trump 2020” Saturday night as he patrolled the streets of Flatbush. One video showed the officer stopping his patrol car at a crosswalk with lights flashing. He appeared to taunt a pedestrian: “Trump 2020. Put it on YouTube. Put it on Facebook. Trump 2020. Take a picture. Take a picture. Take a video.”
One passer-by was videotaped taunting the officer in return, calling him a “fucking fascist.”
Brandon Hines, a resident, posted video on Twitter and said, “How the NYPD rolling up in Black Communities these day (on my block) … BI-DEN.”
How the NYPD rolling up in Black communities these days (on my block): “Trump 2020. Put it on YouTube. Put it on Facebook…”
Aight MFers… it’s on TWITTER TOO! BI-DEN! 👋🏿😂#Vote #nypdfinest #bidenharris2020 pic.twitter.com/hmXdY8ivbM
— Brandon K Hines (@thumpio) October 25, 2020
Here’s the policy (circled) and the police car they were using to yell “Trump 2020.” pic.twitter.com/buXNDMHmDm
— talia ‘stop filming faces’ jane (@itsa_talia) October 25, 2020
Hines said he and his roommate looked down from their apartment when he heard voices outside. “It wasn’t even about the ‘Trump 2020’ at that point,” he told NBC News. “I just went to make sure that person [talking] had another pair of eyes on them to make sure they’re safe.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea called the incident “one hundred percent unacceptable.” Law enforcement officers “must remain apolitical,” he added. “It is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs,” Shea tweeted.
The police officer from this incident has been identified and suspended without pay.
To repeat, law enforcement MUST remain apolitical, reassuring the public that we will enforce the law fairly and without prejudice regardless of anyone’s political beliefs. https://t.co/lFVmyaRjSb
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) October 25, 2020
New Yorkers responding to NYPD tweets about the incident on Twitter expressed fears about safety at polling stations.
A post on Streetsblog NYC last week questioned whether police could be trusted to remain neutral politically to keep the peace during voting in light of the union endorsement.
The union called such concerns “hysterical nonsense.”
Hysterical nonsense from an anti-cop propagandist. The PBA endorses candidates every year. Every year, NYC cops protect the right of ALL voters to cast their ballot in peace. NYers should be more worried about partisans like @GershKuntzman trying to stir up unrest w/ this garbage https://t.co/fWRwIkJikS
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) October 20, 2020
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