A police officer has been suspended without pay after videos surfaced on social media of the man appearing to use the loudspeaker of his marked NYPD patrol vehicle to deliver a message of political support for President Trump.
The suspension is effective immediately and the incident remains under investigation, the police department said.
"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," the NYPD tweeted Sunday.
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The department had confirmed the start of an initial investigation Sunday morning after two different videos captured the incident from Saturday evening.
The videos appear to show the officer sitting in a marked cruiser in Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood saying, "Trump 2020. Put it on YouTube. Put it on Facebook. Trump 2020."
Two other uniformed officers are standing immediately next to the marked vehicle in the videos. Their participation in the incident or role in the investigation was not immediately clear.
The department, in its Patrol Guide, prohibits officers from “endorsing political candidates or publicly expressing personal views and opinions” about candidates while on duty or in uniform.
The department's top brass promised an update to the public after their investigation, while Commissioner Dermot Shea called the alleged actions "unacceptable."
"Law enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs. It is essential for New Yorkers to trust their Police. Updates to follow after initial investigation," Shea tweeted Sunday morning.
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.”
The Police Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, threw its support behind Trump in August.
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.
A Miami police officer could face suspension after he was photographed last week at an early voting site wearing a blue, white and red Trump 2020 mask while in uniform.
De Blasio, a Democrat, said last week that he didn’t think New York City police 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.”