The Broward County Florida Sheriff’s Department reportedly demoted Sgt. Matt Patten on Monday for wearing a QAnon conspiracy patch on his body armor while posting for a photo with Vice President Mike Pence in Florida last week.
According to a department memo obtained by BuzzFeed News, Patten intentionally wore the patch for taking photos with Pence as he was departing Fort Lauderdale on Friday. The photos were posted to Pence’s verified Twitter account but quickly deleted and re-posted without Patton after hundreds of people had pointed out that uh, one of the dudes is a looney.
Right Wing Watch reporter Jared Holt was one of the first reporters to spot the patch, which you can apparently buy on Amazon:
Patten was booted off the SWAT team for “conduct unbecoming of an employee” as well as violating the department’s dress code, which apparently doesn’t allow open solicitation of baseless conspiracy theories. Per BuzzFeed News:
As a result, [Patten] was removed from two special assignments, including the department’s Strategic Investigations Division Office of Homeland Security and the department’s SWAT team, Veda Coleman-Wright, spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff’s Department told BuzzFeed News.
It also seems likely that Pence saw the patch. Unless he’s supremely unobservant, the thing is a high-visibility orange thing right in the middle of the dude’s chest. It’s possible that Pence just doesn’t know what QAnon is, but at this point, someone around him has to be aware enough of the theory.
It’s worth noting, though, that QAnon merch and apparel is common at Trump rallies, and no one from the White House has bothered to address this. Trump clearly doesn’t mind being associated with the theory, seeing as he hosted a prominent proponent at the White House.
Patten was a 27-year veteran of the department and had presumably worked for years to get a place on the SWAT and Strategic Investigations teams, which is a bit scary to think about considering he was dumb enough to wear a conspiracy theory patch with the vice president. Maybe he did it as a joke, but either way, the image of a heavily armed dude wearing Q gear isn’t a comforting sight.