| USA TODAY
A uniformed police officer who was photographed wearing a “Trump 2020” mask at a Florida early voting site could face suspension.
Miami-Dade County Democratic Chairman Steve Simeonidis said a photo of the armed officer in the mask was “city funded voter intimidation” in a Tuesday tweet. About an hour later, the Miami Police Department condemned the behavior and promised to address the situation.
The officer, photographed while in line to vote, violated department and polling place policy by promoting a political candidate, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said at a Tuesday press conference. The situation would have been “much more serious” had the officer not been voting, Suarez said.
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“There were people claiming it was voter intimidation,” Suarez said. “Officers have a responsibility … to protect our residents and they have to do that in an impartial manner and they can’t be making political statements or making political stances while they are wearing a uniform.”
Suarez said officers are allowed to vote while in uniform. It’s unknown if the officer was on duty at the time.
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina described the officer’s behavior as “unacceptable” and a violation of departmental policy in Tuesday statement. He said the action was being “addressed immediately.”
Tommy Reyes, president of the officer’s union, said in a statement that police officers have free-speech rights under the U.S. Constitution, and state law allows officers to vote in uniform. Reyes also pointed out that the union, Fraternal Order of Police, has endorsed Donald Trump’s reelection bid at the national level.
Contributing: The Associated Press