An Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been placed on administrative leave for wearing symbols associated with right-wing militia groups on his uniform at Costa Mesa’s protest against police misconduct on Monday.
Sheriff’s officials were made aware of the incident through video posted on Reddit and Twitter, according to Carrie Braun, a department spokeswoman. An internal probe has been launched, she added.
The symbols are associated with the “Three Percenters” group, which got its name from the belief that 3% of colonialists revolted against Britain in the Revolutionary War. Another symbol appears to reference the “don’t tread on me” movement, which also appears to be associated with extremist militia groups.
Sheriff’s officials said the symbols were not approved by the department and are prohibited.
“This deputy’s decision to wear these patches, and the implication of his association with an extremist group, is unacceptable and deeply concerning to me,” Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement. “Any symbol can have multiple meanings and is open to interpretation, which is why wearing of non-approved symbols and patches is strictly prohibited. Instances like this can forge a wedge separating law enforcement from the community we serve, especially during these turbulent times.”
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