LITTLE VILLAGE — A photo of an unmarked Chicago Police squad car with a bumper sticker supporting Donald Trump has raised the ire of residents of Little Village where the picture was taken.
A police spokesman said the officer using the car didn't put it there and figured it was a joke, particularly because he doesn't support the Republican presidential candidate. The sticker has been removed.
The photo, taken in December, shows a Crown Victoria with municipal license plates parked at a Shell gas station at 3201 W. 26th St. The sticker attached to the back says, "TRUMP: Make America Great Again."
Reporter Jackie Serrato talks about reaction in Little Village.
After it was posted to the La Villita, Chicago Facebook page last weekend, the photo was shared nearly 400 times. The neighborhood is home to a large number of residents of Mexican ancestry and recent immigrants. Trump has made a number of comments criticizing Mexican immigrants and has said the U.S. should build a wall on the country's southern border.
"A CPD car which by nature should have no political bumper sticker gives props to a man who is nothing more than a name brand that promotes hate. Not ok," one commenter wrote.
Jose Ayala, 32, who lives just a few blocks from the gas station, said that to him and his family, the sticker "insinuat[es] that the Chicago Police Department is in support of Donald Trump. This is an ethics violation." He complained to the city after seeing the photo online.
Police rules state that "Department members are prohibited from participating in ANY partisan political campaign or activity while on duty, including but not limited to distributing campaign literature or wearing or displaying political paraphernalia."
Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo said even nonpolitical stickers aren't allowed: “Police officers are not allowed to decorate their vehicles in any form.”
Officer Frank Giancamilli, a Police Department spokesman, agreed the sticker was inappropriate. But he said the officer who drives the car said he didn't put the sticker on the car and therefore was not reprimanded. He couldn't say how long the sticker had been on the car.
“It happened awhile ago," Giancamilli said. "The officer wasn’t aware of the sticker, but when he finally saw it he took it off. He thought it was a joke, as he’s not a Donald Trump supporter to begin with.”
The sticker has since been removed, said Giancamilli, who provided a new photo of the car with no sticker attached.
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