A uniformed Miami police officer was photographed Tuesday morning at a Florida polling location wearing a “Trump 2020: No More Bullshit” face mask, a move the department said is an “unacceptable” violation of MPD policy.
The photo of Officer Daniel Ubeda wearing the pro-Trump mask at the Government Center in Downtown Miami immediately went viral, causing swift backlash from the community, with many saying that his conduct constituted voter intimidation.
The photo likely garnered even more attention than it would have under normal circumstances due in no small part to the fact that Ubeda’s photo was taken by Steve Simeonidis, the chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, who just happened to be in the Government Center. Simeonidis quickly posted the photo on social media calling for the officer’s suspension.
“Here is City of Miami Police Officer Daniel Ubeda, in full uniform with badge and gun wearing his Trump mask inside of the polling location in government center,” Simeonidis captioned the photo on Twitter. “This is city funded voter intimidation. Ubeda should be suspended immediately.”
Here is @CityofMiami Police Officer Daniel Ubeda, in full uniform with badge and gun wearing his Trump mask inside of the polling location in government center.
This is city funded voter intimidation.
Ubeda should be suspended immediately. pic.twitter.com/TbJxu6mcem
— Steve Simeonidis (@stevesimeonidis) October 20, 2020
Speaking to the Miami Herald, Simeonidis, an attorney who works downtown, told the newspaper that Ubeda was “well within” the 150-foot distance officers are required to keep from polling places without permission.
“He may have been going to vote. But he was in full uniform with the mask and a gun. That’s voter intimidation,” Simeonidis asserted. He said that when he questioned Ubeda about the mask the officer “laughed it off.”
Deputy Police Chief Ron Papier also told the Herald that he had spoken with Chief of Police Jorge Colina, who assured him that Ubeda will be subject to “appropriate disciplinary action.”
“Obviously this is a clear violation of our department policy regarding campaigning while on duty,” Papier said. “Additionally, the mask has offensive language, which is also a violation of department policy.”
Florida election law Chapter 102.101 states that “No sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, or other officer of the law shall be allowed within the polling place without permission from the clerk or a majority of the inspectors, except to cast his or her ballot.” It also states that if an officer fails to comply with the provision, “the clerk or the inspectors or any one of them shall make an affidavit against such officer for his or her arrest.”
Following the incident, the Miami Police Department released a statement saying Ubeda’s conduct is “being addressed immediately.”
“We are aware of the photograph being circulated of a Miami Police officer wearing a political mask in uniform. This behavior is unacceptable, a violation of departmental policy, and is being addressed immediately,” the department wrote on Twitter.
We are aware of the photograph being circulated of a Miami Police officer wearing a political mask in uniform. This behavior is unacceptable, a violation of departmental policy, and is being addressed immediately. pic.twitter.com/E3eO0IQh0f
— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) October 20, 2020
The department did not elaborate on how it would discipline the officer.
[image via Twitter/Chair of Miami-Dade Democratic Party Steve Simeonidis]
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