San Antonio Police Face Discipline for Wearing Trump Gear on the Job
San Antonio, Texas police officers bucked rules against endorsing political candidates to show their love for Donald Trump recently. A video tweeted from Trump’s Twitter account yesterday shows more than a dozen uniformed SAPD officers wearing particularly noticeable headgear: Trump campaign “Make America Great” hats. The officers, who are reportedly members of the motorcycle unit that led the Trump motorcade to San Antonio airport, now face possible disciplinary action for boosting the candidate during the hours they were on the clock as public servants.
Thank you Texas! If you haven't registered to VOTE- today is your last day. Go to: https://t.co/HfihPEA3Sp & get ou… https://t.co/gxbDRD4x2k— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1476221741.0
“The officers wearing the campaign hats while in uniform violated SAPD policy and will be disciplined appropriately. SAPD officers are charged with protecting the entire community,” SAPD Chief William McManus wrote in a Twitter statement, which stopped short of indicating what punitive steps might be taken. “The officers displayed poor judgment. I expect them to know better than to give the appearance of endorsing a candidate while on duty and in uniform, regardless of the political campaign of the candidate.”
San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor—the first African American and only the second woman to hold the office—posted a message on Facebook expressing dismay at the officers’ actions.
“I am deeply disappointed by some of our SAPD officers' lack of judgement,” the message reads. “While on duty, police must be above politics with an obligation to serve everyone equally. Everything they do should send that message and today's actions did not.”
The responses to the mayor’s post were a mixed bag of supportive and oppositional messages.
“This is how riots have started in other cities,” Maggie Hurley Felicella wrote, a statement that is totally inconsistent with the truth. “I thought you were above this type of behavior. I am disappointed.”
“[W]hen Trump wins I hope they all wear the red hats,” Gabriel Martinez enthused.
“I love and support our Mayor. Regardless of what political side she is on, she is absolutely correct that our officers have a duty to remain professional in all situations while on the clock. I was in the military, and would have been in serious trouble had I been in uniform and acting this way,” Brandi Howell noted.
San Antonio Police Officers Association president Michael Helle issued a statement in which he largely dismissed the outrage over the officers’ attire. “Frankly, the officers were most likely caught up in the moment and did not consider the political nature of their actions,” he said, according to a local Fox affiliate.
Many cops have proven to be big supporters of Trump, with the nation’s largest police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, endorsing the GOP presidential candidate last month. The group has thrown its 330,000-member collective weight behind a candidate who has spent 16 months calling for the deportation of Mexicans, a ban on Muslim immigrants and encouraged violence against African-American protesters at his rallies. Days before the SAPD officers were seen wearing Trump campaign gear, leaked footage showed the GOP candidate discussing his favorite methods of sexually assaulting women, including “grab[bing] them by the pussy.”