A sheriff’s sergeant in Broward County, Florida has been demoted after wearing a patch referring to the QAnon conspiracy theory in a picture with Vice President Mike Pence last week, according to multiple reports.
Sgt. Matt Patten (pictured above, left) put the patch on in order to get it in a picture with Pence, BuzzFeed News and the Miami New Times reported based on a memo from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office they obtained. TPM has contacted the sheriff’s office for a copy of the memo.
Pence’s picture with Patten, in which the QAnon patch and another unauthorized patch showing an ax and scythe are clearly visible, was initially posted on the vice president’s official Twitter account before eventually being taken down and replaced. RightWingWatch’s Jared Holt first spotted the patch.
Patten was reprimanded for “conduct unbecoming an employee” and removed from the Broward Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and its Strategic Investigations Division Office of Homeland Security, BuzzFeed News reported after speaking with a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. The Daily Beast also reported Patten’s removal from the SWAT team, based on an internal report.
“This resulted in negative ramifications on a national platform as a controversy for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the County, the SWAT team, and Sergeant Patten,” the sheriff’s office said in its reprimand of Patten, per the Times. “The controversy also caused the V.P.O.T.U.S. Office Website to delete the image.”
QAnon believers are common at President Donald Trump’s political rallies; a leading proponent of the conspiracy took a picture with the President in the Oval Office in August.