Brooklyn, NY – A New York police sergeant has been “disciplined” amid an ongoing investigation into two “politically-oriented” patches she wore on her uniform during a recent Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Video footage showed New York Police Department (NYPD) Sergeant Dana Martillo wearing two Punisher skull patches on her uniform as protesters heckled her and her fellow officers outside the Ft. Greene precinct on Feb. 5, according to the New York Post.
One patch featured a Punisher skull with a hairstyle resembling that of former President Donald Trump, while the other showed a similar skull emblem with the words, “TRUMP MAKE ENFORCEMENT GREAT AGAIN 2020.”
According to NYPD policy, officers are barred from “endorsing political candidates or publicly expressing personal views and opinions concerning the merit of any political party or candidate for public office” while in uniform or on duty.
NYPD spokesperson Detective Sophia Mason said on Saturday that the department has seen the video showing the sergeant “wearing a politically-oriented patch,” and confirmed an investigation into the incident was ongoing, CNN reported.
The NYPD said Sgt. Martillo, 37, has already received “an initial discipline,” but did not provide further information about any sanctions against her.
“Members of the NYPD must remain apolitical — it’s essential to public trust & officers’ ability to perform their jobs,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted on Saturday.
Members of the NYPD must remain apolitical — it’s essential to public trust & officers’ ability to perform their jobs. https://t.co/zsTskDO10Z
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) February 6, 2021
A spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked the mayor’s “partners at the NYPD for their swift action on the matter,” CNN reported.
But New York Police Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) President Ed Mullins said Sgt. Martillo’s patches should be the least of city officials’ concerns.
“With all the stuff that’s occurring in the city right now, we’re worried about a patch?” Mullins ranted to the New York Post. “You know how to fix that problem. You say, ‘It’s not authorized. Take it off.’”
The union president noted that the current morale throughout the NYPD is “terrible,” and suggested Commissioner Shea make an effort to support the rank-and-file officers.
“Shea should be out defending his cops,” Mullins told the New York Post.
He further argued that the NYPD’s non-political policy is inconsistently applied depending on who is accused of violating it.
“When the Chief of the Department sends an overtly political message by taking a knee with protestors while in full uniform and on duty, it sends a clear message to our membership that political speech is permitted,” Mullins told the New York Post.
NYPD Sergeant Martillo should be treated the same as NYPD Chief Monaghan when he made a political statement. Nothing happen to him! DOUBLE STANDARD or WHITE SHIRT IMMUNITY? https://t.co/M7BlzUDSh2 pic.twitter.com/YAnreS4heI
— SBA (@SBANYPD) February 6, 2021
“When the department imposes content-based discipline, it slides down a very slippery path toward monitoring all police officer speech, including police union speech and officers’ off-duty social media,” he added. “I do not believe that discipline of Sergeant Martillo is warranted or necessary.”