MIAMI, Fla. – While Miami’s Chief of Police Jorge Colina and the Miami Police Department decide on what disciplinary action will be taken against an officer who appeared at a downtown Miami polling location wearing a mask representing a political candidate, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement Thursday that her office will be looking into the matter.
City of Miami Police Officer Daniel Ubeda was shown in a photo tweeted by Steve Simeonidis, chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, inside a polling location in Government Center while in uniform and wearing a mask that read: “Trump 2020. No more bull****.” The photo was taken on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
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.— Steve Simeonidis (@stevesimeonidis) October 20, 2020
This is city funded voter intimidation.
Ubeda should be suspended immediately. pic.twitter.com/TbJxu6mcem
Rundle said in the statement that while she supports Ubeda’s First Amendment right to his opinion, she agreed with Colina’s statement that called the officers actions unacceptable.
“Wearing one’s police uniform at a voting site while expressing a political opinion may be construed as an official attempt to send a distinct message to potential voters," Rundle said in the statement. This should not occur in Miami-Dade County. Accordingly, I have asked my staff to look into this matter.”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez confirmed that the officer was in line to vote when the photo was taken and said he was unsure whether the officer was on duty at the time. Regardless, he said it violated department policy.
“The City of Miami and the Miami Police Department do not support or endorse any candidate for political party or elected office,” Suarez said. “It is our mission to provide impartial police services to everyone regardless of political affiliation.”
Colina said that Ubeda will be disciplined for the actions. At last check, there has been no actions taken by Colina or the department concerning the incident.
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
Rundle also added in the statement that she has activated the Voter Protection Task Force. “Our investigators and civilian employees are available throughout the early voting period at the designated locations during voting hours. I encourage anyone who suspects improper or irregular activity to speak to them.”
She also said there is a Voter Protection Hotline set up. That number is (305) 547-3300.