News & Politics

Florida S.W.A.T. officer who posed with Pence wearing QAnon patch demoted to another department

This incident was embarrassing for everyone involved.

Image via Twitter

On Monday evening, the Miami Herald reported that the Broward County Sheriff S.W.A.T. officer who posed with Vice President Mike Pence wearing a QAnon patch is being disciplined:

Sgt. Matthew Patten, a 27-year veteran of the sheriff's office, was found to have violated the department's uniform code and displayed "conduct unbecoming an employee," according to the official reprimand signed by Patten. He was removed from BSO's Strategic Investigations Division's Office of Homeland Security and the agency's S.W.A.T. Team and will be reassigned to the Department of Law Enforcement.

"Being a highly political entity with a narrow one-sided scope of positioning, public alignment and representation of such group is in contrast with the core values of political neutrality within the Broward Sheriff's Office," wrote Capt. Steven Robson in his counseling report.

Notably, Patten is still employed by the Broward County Sheriff's Office — he is simply being demoted to another department.

Pence caused a stir online when he tweeted an image of himself with a group of "courageous" law enforcement officers including Patten, who were assigned to help the Secret Service guard him while he attended the 2018 Israeli-American Council National Conference. After the Internet took notice of the "Q" emblem on the front of Patten's uniform, Pence hastily deleted the tweet.

QAnon is an elaborate and disturbing conspiracy theory hatched on the trolling message board 4chan following Trump's remarks at a 2017 military dinner that it was the "calm before the storm". An anonymous user shortly appeared on the site, styling himself "Q" after the Energy Department classification and claiming a secret campaign of mass arrests of corrupt government officials was about to happen. Q's followers quickly spun his cryptic, vague messages into a far-reaching narrative that President Donald Trump, Russia special counsel Robert Mueller, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were about to expose a worldwide child sex trafficking enterprise that included all of Trump's enemies — although Democrats winning the House and Trump firing Sessions has taken some of the wind out of QAnon believers.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.