Phoenix officials, infuriated over an ad for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that includes city cops, fired off a letter Thursday demanding that the ad be taken down immediately.
The ad, titled “Movement,” portrays Trump meeting with a variety of people — including, for about one second, uniformed police officers at what appears to be an airport, with the word “Together” superimposed.
Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm said in the letter that those cops are Phoenix police officers, who “were unaware that they were photographed and videotaped, and they did not consent to the use of their on-duty images in any Trump (or other) campaign advertisement.”
Besides being a violation of federal and state laws governing copyright and intellectual property, Holm contended, the ad “unmistakably and wrongfully suggests that Phoenix and the officers support or endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign.”
“That is not the case,” he wrote. “Neither Phoenix nor the Police Department support or endorse any candidate for President of the United States or any other political office.”
It’s illegal under the federal Hatch Act of 1939, which bars many categories of local, state and federal public employees from engaging in political activities while serving in their official capacities.
The National Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police union,endorsed Trump earlier this month. But the FOP says that on an individual level, it’s impermissible for a cop to allow his or her “name or likeness to be used in campaign literature in the police officer’s professional capacity.”
The Trump campaign couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday night by NBC News. Trump’s Arizona state director told The Arizona Republic newspaper of Phoenix that he had no comment.