The head of the city’s police union is accusing the assistant chief of police, Anita Najiy, of lacking respect for the United States, and he’s circulating a video he says should lead to disciplinary action against her. Her alleged crime against America? Not holding her hand over her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz was in the front row at a promotional event last week at Miami Police College to film Najiy, a 32-year-veteran of the agency, during the pledge. As other members placed their hands over their hearts, Najiy kept her arms by her sides.
In doing so, Ortiz says, she failed to exhibit courtesy and etiquette that “must be exercised when wearing a law enforcement uniform.”
“If you’re not pledging allegiance to the United States, my question is what country are you pledging allegiance to?” Ortiz says. “Anyone who isn’t offended by that is not American, because when you become a U.S. citizen, you pledge allegiance to the .US.”
Yesterday evening, Ortiz sent a letter to Chief Rodolfo Llanes outlining the event. He also suggested appropriate discipline, including Najiy's removal from a commander position.
Though the police department’s code of conduct allows for reprimand if an officer doesn't salute the flag, it makes no mention of protocol during the Pledge of Allegiance, according to the Miami Herald.
The Herald also reports that part of the code of conduct for U.S. military personnel supersedes the police's code — and it states that “when in uniform, indoors, stand at attention, remain silent, and face the flag.”
And that’s exactly what Najiy did. Still, the matter is "currently under review," according to a spokesman from the Miami Police Department.
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That's not Ortiz's only complaint. He also says he's heard "rumors" that Najiy is Muslim, adding that if true, he respects her religion but that some normal “protections” of the freedoms of religion and speech don’t apply to those in police uniform, because “you’re supposed to be neutral.”
“The flag is a symbol of our country,” he says. “What is the difference if I decide to light a U.S. flag on fire in a police uniform?”
Najiy declined to discuss the complaint with New Times.