A Miami police officer has been accused of intimidating voters at an early polling place, where he was pictured in uniform wearing aface mask. The Miami police chief and mayor both called the officer’s actions “unacceptable,” and the officer faces disciplinary action.
Steve Simeonidis, the chairman of the Miami-Dade Democrats, tweeted a photo of the officer on Tuesday as he was at a polling place inside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in Miami. The photo shows the officer in full uniform — including his badge and gun — wearing a face mask that appears to say “No more bullsh**” underneath the “Trump 2020” logo.
Simeonidis called the incident “city-funded,” and said the officer should be suspended immediately.
The name tag on the officer’s uniform seen in the photo reads “Ubeda,” but the Miami Police Department has not confirmed the officer’s identity to CBS News. The department said it’s investigating the incident, but did not specify what punishment the officer may face.
“We are aware of the photograph being circulated of a Miami Police officer wearing a political mask in uniform,” the department tweeted Tuesday. “This behavior is unacceptable, a violation of departmental policy, and is being addressed immediately.”
According to Miami PD’s policies, officers “shall not interfere with or make use of the influence of their office for political reasons, nor shall they take part in any political activity” while working.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez condemned the actions of the officer, just one day after holding a press conference about ensuring there would be no voter intimidation at the polls.
“I have spoken to [Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina] and we agree that the officer’s behavior is unacceptable,” Suarez said Tuesday. “This was a violation of departmental policy. He is under investigation and disciplinary measures will be taken.”
Officials confirmed that the officer was voting early and not on duty; officers are allowed to vote in uniform, but aren’t permitted to wear anything affiliated with a political party.
“You will not see anyone in any sort of military garb or uniform as that is illegal, you will not see open carry at a polling location as that is illegal,” Miami Commissioner Ken Russell said at Monday’s press conference, ahead of the incident. Police “will not have a visible presence because that in itself could be construed by some as intimidating. So the police will not be at the polling location in uniform.”
Russell told CBS Miami that all government workers were sent reminders on Tuesday that they should not participate in any political activities while on duty.
The campaign for Democratic presidential nomineereleased a statement Wednesday addressing the “ongoing tactics in Florida” to intimate voters.
“In the United States of America, we cannot and will not stand for any behavior that could intimidate voters from participating in our democracy,” Biden for President Florida communications director Carlie Waibel told CBS Miami. “Our country stands for freedom, liberty, and democracy, and these scare tactics have no place in our state. It’s clear that those running scared will try anything in the closing weeks of the election. There are no excuses for this behavior. We are committed to making sure every Floridian can vote and every vote is counted.”