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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

NY Cop Disciplined after Donning Pro-Trump Badge at BLM Protest

For every racist cop that gets exposed, there are many who fly under the radar.

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Over the past year, the racist antics officers thought they’d get away with have been exposed. Take for example, Sgt. Dana Martillo who was caught donning a pro-Trump badge at a BLM protest, mocking demonstrators. Her actions landed her with a suspension, per the NY Daily News. However, some officers still get away with their nonsense.

The heightened awareness of police brutality and movement to protect Black lives have been a driving force behind police accountability. Though, what accountability looks like certainly depends on the situation. If a cop kills someone, the people demand criminal charges. In Martillo’s case, she was caught wearing a Punisher logo and “Trump 2020/Make Enforcement Great Again” patches at a Feb. 2021 BLM protest in downtown Brooklyn.

She even asked a superior officer beforehand if she’d get in trouble and was told to keep her jacket zipped so the patches wouldn’t show. She testified at the hearing that she was told no such thing.

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“I have to brush up on my First Amendment rights. I didn’t know I was so photogenic,” Martillo said at the protest, per her department trial in May.

Read more about the trial from the NYPD’s report:

The presumptive penalty for failure to comply with a lawful order is 20 penalty days; the mitigated penalty is 15 days, and the aggravated penalty is 30 days.

Respondent engaged in a knowing, deliberate display of disobedience when she chose to wear the two patches on her ballistic vest and then reveal them while on-duty after having been told to conceal them. She compounded this disobedience by wearing the patches when she supervised police officers at a demonstration. Respondent treated the protesters with the same contempt she showed for Department regulations when she engaged in snarky banter with them that was completely unrelated to, and not in furtherance of, her duties as a Member of Service, let alone as a supervisor. Even when allowed to express some regret for her poor decision making, Respondent was defiant. Respondent’s supervisor gave her an opportunity to remedy the violation; she complied temporarily and then defied the order by allowing the patches to be displayed.

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Alas, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell signed off on a measly 10-day suspension and forfeit 30 vacation days. It wasn’t like Martillo was going to be sentenced to prison for being a bigot. But the fact she was ordered some form of punishment can set an example.

Though the discipline for officers often looks like a slap on the wrist, it seems now many jurisdictions who haven’t considered accountability before are forming offices specifically for it. Prince George’s County, Md., Cleveland, Berkley, Ca. and more have formed police accountability boards to monitor misconduct.

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Maybe the more cops are held accountable, it will normalize picking out the bad apples before they spoil the department. That is if the department isn’t already spoiled.