Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown is drawing criticism for using uniformed Baltimore police officers in a campaign ad attacking his Republican challenger over guns, reports the Baltimore Sun. The police department is investigating whether the officers broke its rules. Department policy says officers are “strictly prohibited” from appearing in uniform in political ads. The television ad has prompted a torrent of comments on Brown’s Facebook page from other officers, who say it does not represent their views.
The police union and the Brown campaign contend that because the officers’ uniforms were stripped down — their “Baltimore Police” patches are blurred, and they are not wearing their badges — they were not actually in uniform. “The only thing we have to do per general order is not be in full uniform,” said Robert Cherry, president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police lodge. “The full uniform is the patch, the badge, and the name tag.” The video features two city officers, one male and one female. The woman looks into the camera and says that Republican candidate Larry Hogan’s “record on guns … would make my job more dangerous.”