The Prince George’s County Police Department suspended an officer Tuesday after uncovering a photo posted on social media of the officer sporting a political T-shirt and bearing his police badge and department-issued weapon, according to a release.
County police spokesperson Thomas Lester confirmed the photo that led to the suspension was of the officer lifting up a long-sleeved shirt to reveal a blue Trump T-shirt and an “I Voted” sticker. In the photo, which was circulated on Twitter, the officer’s gun and badge are tucked into his waistband.
A Prince George’s County Police officer. One of the “Trump boys” because the Proud boys name was already taken. They wear these shirts underneath uniforms to identify each other. Is the black community safe with these guys patrolling the streets. pic.twitter.com/pL0dUgjvy2
— UBPOA (@UBPOAofMD) January 12, 2021
The police department was made aware of the photo on Tuesday. Its internal affairs division “immediately” opened an investigation into the officer’s social media use, in which it found a second post that caused “more concern,” the release read. The release did not identify the officer.
“I fully support an officer’s first amendment rights, however these posts are in violation of the department’s social media policy,” said Interim Chief Hector Velez, who issued the suspension. “I don’t condone any inflammatory posts by any officer that would tarnish the reputation of the men and women who do this work admirably each day, or cause the community to lose trust in us.”
The department developed an updated social media policy in December 2019, which is taught to all recruits and had been distributed to the entire department, the release read. According to the department’s policy, posting police department badges, logos or uniforms is prohibited.