An offended citizen who saw the cap in the back of the cruiser reported it to officials on Monday and by Tuesday the veteran officer of nine years was pulled from duty.
“I was passing by a police car and I happen to look in it and I was surprised to see an Oath Keeper’s hat in the back of the car. It kind of rocked me to my core because I didn’t expect it in Anne Arundel County,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told WBAL in the above video.
Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare took swift action and suspended the officer with pay pending a more in-depth investigation.
“When you see a hat that sends the message, whatever the message is behind the political group, it’s unacceptable behavior and prohibited,” said Altomare.
The Oath Keepers, as noted by their website, “is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’”
They have drawn attention to their cause in recent years when members appeared in Ferguson, Missouri following the outbreak of violence, in tense situations between the Bureau of Land Management and the public, and in a somewhat overblown incident in which the Southern Poverty Law Center– who characterize the organization as an extremist group– warned the Oath Keepers were coming armed to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this year.
As for Anne Arundel Police, they have been heavily involved in protecting “Black Lives Matter” signs at four area churches from theft or vandalism, with Altomare telling The Baltimore Sun previously that his department has done more than 600 documented checks since the first sign was displayed.
In an update to the story of the Oath Keepers complaint, the anonymous woman advised WBAL on Wednesday that she’s receiving harassing and threatening messages as a result of her action.