WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Community activists are raising concerns over a logo they claim is linked to the Metropolitan Police Department's (MPD) Gun Recovery Unit (GRU).
A petition, organized by Law for Black Lives DC, claimed a photo was found on social media showing 17 MPD officers standing with a logo activists call "troubling".
"Here’s the bullet hole, in the skull, in the 'T-zone'. Basically, right between the eyes, if you will. That is basically known as a kill shot," said Eugene Puryear, an organizer with the Stop Police Terror Project D.C., as he described his concerns with the logo. "We have pistols here, we have two handcuffs."
Puryear said NSID at the top of the logo refers to MPD's "Narcotics and Special Investigations Division", which encompasses the GRU. He added the slogan at the bottom, "Vest Up, One in the Chamber", refers to wearing a bullet proof vest and having a bullet in the chamber ready to fire.
He said he believes they're trying to create a reputation that intimidates citizens.
"It’s directly tied to what we think are deep concerns about multiple units inside the MPD, who seem to have this idea that death is good or whatever it may be."
Two weeks ago, the same activists filed a complaint about a grim reaper t-shirt they said was worn by an MPD officer in court.
As to the more recent one, Puryear said they have identified 12 of the officers in the photo and have filed complaints about them and want those linked to the photo fired.
A statement from MPD said they were just made aware of the photo on Friday and learned it was from 2016 and had recently been posted to a current member's personal Twitter account.
At this time, it added that no officers have been punished, but an internal investigation is underway and the appropriate action will be taken.
Police added, and this was echoed in a statement from the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, that "every day, the women and men of the Metropolitan Police Department work tirelessly to ensure residents and visitors are safe and live up to their mission of 'here to help.' The image is not representative of our officers' connection to, countless positive interactions with and trust built among our residents and visitors."