A New York police officer photographed outside Trump Tower wearing a black balaclava over his face and what appears to be black tape over his badge during an anti-Trump protest Thursday is in “compliance” with department regulations, according to an NYPD spokesperson. This is despite clear rules that New York police officers must always display their faces.
The spokesperson also claimed to the New York Daily News that “when officers wear raincoats, only the shield needs to be visible.” According to former New York Civil Liberties Union director Norman Siegel, this is not so. “Police officers should not, and we believe cannot remove their nameplates, let alone disguise their identity by wearing balaclavas on the job,” he wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
The NYPD told Gizmodo that the black tape covering the badge was “a mourning band that was for a NYPD Sergeant who was killed in the line of duty,” referring to the recent death of Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo. The NYPD also said the officer’s badge number is #8545.
Police arrested 65 people at the protest the balaclava-clad cop was spotted at, according to the Daily News, though 59 were released with a minor ticket.
This post has been updated with new information about the tape over the officer’s badge.