The Metropolitan Police Department is reportedly investigating at least one Washington, D.C. officer after the officer was photographed in court wearing a shirt featuring suspected white supremacy symbolism and advocating an antiquated, highly-aggressive profiling tactic.
Various outlets have identified the officer as Vincent Altieri. Pictures of the shirt feature the words “Powershift” and “Seventh District” with an image of a grim reaper wearing an MPD badge and holding an assault rifle. A Celtic cross or sun cross replaces the letter “O” in the word “powershift” on the officer’s shirt. While such crosses have been used in prehistoric religion and astronomy, Wicca and white supremacy groups have also adopted them in more recent times.
In addition to the imagery, the shirt also features the phrase, “Let me see that waistband jo,” which is believed to reference the controversial profiling practice of police “jump-outs.”
“The tactic sounds like a souped-up version of the New York City Police Department’s much-maligned ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy, which the police commissioner promised to reform last year,” wrote Newsweek’s Max Kutner, when describing jump-outs in a 2015 article.
D.C. police dept. statement on that t-shirt. Def. attorneys say they've seen other cops wear them -- incl. in court. pic.twitter.com/UnbKIkoxQb— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) July 28, 2017
Metropolitan Chief of Police Peter Newsham released an official statement on the matter calling the shirt “disturbing and disgraceful.”
“The involved member has been placed in a non-contact status pending the outcome of the investigation,” the statement further read.
Newsham’s official statement came on the same day the Suffolk County Police Department officially distanced itself from remarks President Donald Trump made to members of law enforcement encouraging forms of police brutality.
“Don’t be too nice,” Trump said. “These thugs being thrown into the back of the paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’”
The SCPD has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously.— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) July 28, 2017
Following Trump’s statements, the official Suffolk County Police Department Twitter account tweeted, “The SCPD has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously.”
As it regards the MPD officer—who the Metro Police have not confirmed is Altieri—over 2,000 people have signed a petition to have him fired.