Trump Support Among NYPD Raises Concerns About Outsized Role of Police on Polling Day

Democratic New York state senators have expressed concern about the NYPD officer who used his patrol vehicle's loudspeaker to express support for President Donald Trump just days away from the election.

Brad Hoylman, who represents New York's 27th District, was one of those who originally condemned the officer after videos of him saying "Trump 2020" while arguing with a member of the public went viral on social media.

Hoylman pointed out that the actions of the officer who has since been suspended was particularly worrying given the role of police in November.

"In past years, it has been the responsibility of the NYPD to transport ballots from poll sites to the Board of Elections," Hoylman tweeted.

"@NYCMayor and @NYPDShea, we need to see action. Electioneering and partisan activity cannot ever be tolerated by the City."

In a further statement provided to Newsweek, Hoylman added: "I called for swift accountability at the NYPD, and I'm glad that the Commissioner and the Mayor responded by quickly suspending without pay the officer involved for using a department vehicle's loud speaker for political purposes.

"We need to see the NYPD's ongoing investigation followed up with real consequences. There can be zero tolerance for partisanship in law enforcement, and we need a strong signal of that.

"We all know this officer was only suspended because the video went viral. What happens when the officer isn't recorded?"

He added: "Fair and free elections are crucial to the function of our democracy and the police still play an outsized role in New York City's elections. New Yorkers must be able to trust that those involved in our elections will protect our democracy."

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

— Brandon K Hines (@thumpio) October 25, 2020

Alessandra Biaggi, Senator for the 34th District and Ethics Committee Chair, also expressed concern about the implications of officers making such a political stance ahead of the election.

"It is appalling to see a uniformed NYPD officer blatantly engage in electioneering, threatening our voting process and the safety of the New Yorkers he is sworn to serve," Biaggi told Newsweek.

"Police presence in and of itself can create voter intimidation, and behavior of this kind only creates further distrust in law enforcement and erodes the integrity of our elections."

Zellnor Myrie, serving the 20th Senate District, described the actions of the officer as in a predominately Black neighborhood as "disappointing and unsurprising."

He added: "It's disappointing because of the role the NYPD plays, for better or worse, in securing polling places and safeguarding election night results. We have significant questions about the actions of this officer and his colleagues who, in the video, said and did nothing to stop him.

"It's unsurprising because this is another example of a police force whose worst excesses have been emboldened and inflamed every day for the past four years by a federal administration diametrically opposed to civil rights and fair treatment.

"Also unsurprising? The silence from the NYPD's primary union leadership, which has given its full-throated endorsement to Donald Trump but seems to lose its courage when it comes to law and order within its own ranks."

The Police Benevolent Association, one of the largest police unions representing New York City officers, backed Trump's bid for re-election in August.

The NYPD confirmed that the officer, who has not been named, has been suspended without pay with immediate effect after investigating the videos of him posted online.

"Trump 2020. Put it on YouTube, put it on Facebook," the officer says through his speaker while his car's lights are flashing. "Take a picture, take a video, put it on Facebook, put it on YouTube. Have some fun...tough guy, tough guy."

In another clip, one man filming the officer urges him "Do it again. What, you can't say 'Trump 2020' now? F*****g p***y. Say it again." The officer responds by saying "Trump 2020."

"Go f**k yourself, you f*****g fascist," the man adds.

The actions of the officer was also condemned by high ranking members of the NYPD.

"When you wear our uniform it is imperative to remain apolitical," tweeted Chief Terence Monahan. "Behavior like this will not be tolerated and will be dealt with."

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea added the incident was "100 percent unacceptable."

"Law enforcement MUST remain apolitical, reassuring the public that we will enforce the law fairly and without prejudice regardless of anyone's political beliefs," Shea tweeted.

The NYPD have been contacted for further comment.

(File photo) NYPD police officers wear masks in Times Square during the fourth phase of the coronavirus reopening in Manhattan on September 22, 2020 in New York, New York. State senators have expressed concern about the NYPD officer who used his patrol vehicle loudspeaker to express support for President Donald Trump Roy Rochlin/Getty