A Maryland police officer was suspended Tuesday after a woman snapped a photograph of a hat promoting the Oath Keepers militia group displayed on the rear deck of his police cruiser.
“The officer has been suspended because, flat-out, it’s a violation of our rules and policy to have anything political in your police car,” Anne Arundel County Police Lieutenant Ryan Frashure told local Fox News affiliate WBFF. The department has not released the name of the officer, claiming the incident is a personnel matter that will be investigated internally.
Gillian Thompson told WBFF that she saw the hat inside a parked police car near a Whole Foods in Annapolis Monday, and took photographs because she was familiar with the controversial patriot group. She filed a complaint at police headquarters.
“I knew what the Oath Keepers were from Cliven Bundy, from Ferguson,” Thompson told the news station.
Gillian Thompson speaks to WBFF.
The Oath Keepers are a loosely organized anti-government group composed of current and former law enforcement officials and members of the military. Organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League classify the Oath Keepers as an extremist branch of the militia movement.
The group drew headlines in 2014 for sending heavily armed members to keep watch over businesses during protests in Ferguson after the fatal police shooting of Mike Brown, and for supporting Cliven Bundy’s standoff against the Bureau of Land Management at his Nevada ranch.
Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare told WBAL that he suspended his officer for promoting the group while on duty less than a day after receiving Thompson’s police report.
“Good Lord, it’s 2016. Every one of my cops should know better,” Altomare told the station.
Watch WBFF’s report below.