Officer Placed On Leave, Under Investigation For Tattoo

Chapel Hill Police Officer Cole Daniels was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday.

Chapel Hill, NC A Chapel Hill police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after a photo that showed a tattoo on his arm raised questions about his ability to serve, the police chief said.

Photographer Daniel Hosterman said he took the photograph at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 20, after protesters toppled the Silent Sam Confederate monument displayed at the University of North Carolina (UNC), The Charlotte Observer reported.

The image, which Hosterman shared on social media the following day, showed Chapel Hill Police Officer Cole Daniels forearm tattoo of the Roman numeral three encircled by 12 stars.

The tattoo closely resembles a Three Percenters symbol, which uses 13 stars of the revolutionary flag, or Betsy Ross flag, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Blue Lives Matter Editor-in-Chief Christopher Berg said that it's likely that the missing star is an error.

A police officer standing guard at Silent Sam sports a tattoo with the three percenter symbol, Hosterman captioned the photo. These patriot groups have been known to openly protect racists, fascists and neo-Nazis including on A12 2017 in Charlottesville and in Portland for the Patriot Prayer brawls.

Berg explained the issues with broadly characterizing Three Percenters.

"The term 'Three Percenter' comes from a story that only three-percent of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, and thanks to those patriots, liberty was achieved for everybody," Berg said. "What connects Three Percenters is an anti-authoritarian belief system, which often treads into anti-government extremism."

"Three Percenter's aren't an organized group," he explained. "There are organized groups of Three Percenters, but literally anybody can declare themselves to be a Three Percenter with no connection to any other Three Percenters or outside group."

"There are certainly racists who identify as Three Percenters, but the majority are not racist. It'd be hard to be a Nazi who claims to be a Three Percenter because Nazis are authoritarian and Three Percenters are anti-authoritarian. You'll see Three Percenter symbols at rallies confronting antifa because antifa are authoritarian."

He said that, while very uncommon, Three Percenters do exist in law enforcement.

"Three Percenters tend to lean anti-government and police officers are agents of the government," Berg said. "I'd have to assume that police officer Three Percenters are simply anti-authoritarian, not anti-government. If they are actually anti-government, then they are very confused."

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue first addressed the officers tattoo on Aug. 24, and said Officer Daniels had expressed regret that his tattoo had been associated with groups that perpetuate hate and violence, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The negative interpretation of that tattoo is inconsistent with the values and mission of our department, Chief Blue said at the time. We understand the concerns regarding the negative interpretations of the tattoo and regret it was displayed. This will not occur again.

On Monday, Officer Daniels, a four-year veteran of the force, was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

The pervasiveness of the concerns raised by many regarding his display of a tattoo that is associated with the 3 Percenters has caused the Department to question his ability to function effectively as a police officer within this community, Chief Blue said in a statement.

Consistent with our Council-Manager form of government, and our Towns Disciplinary Process, any potential serious disciplinary action will be taken in consultation with the Town Managers Office and the Towns attorneys, Chief Blue added.

It was unclear why Chief Blue did not address concerns regarding Officer Daniels tattoo earlier, since he had been aware of its potentially controversial connotations since at least February, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Im calling you to thank you for calling attention to a tattoo that one of my officers has that apparently slipped through our cracks, Chief Blue said in a voicemail to Elon University computer science professor Megan Squire on Feb. 2.

Chief Blue was referring to a different photograph of Officer Daniels tattoo, which Squire had used in a presentation she gave at UNC in August of 2017.

I would love to hear a little more about how you came across the picture depicting him and share a little bit about my thoughts on how we move forward, the chief said in a later voicemail.

Squire said she did not return Chief Blues calls, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Comments (42)
No. 1-25
Pbmx
Pbmx

Looks like a hank William's III symbol to me

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

So many police officers now have tattoos - I no longer pay any attention to them.

TheDude
TheDude

So, other than the tattoo, were there any indications that he is unable to effectively serve as an officer? Good grief with all this PC bullshit.

JBo
JBo

Yeah...and that "We the people" tat is definitely terrible. How dare someone quote part of the Preamble of the Constitution. <sarc>

FPBIV
FPBIV

This isn't a Chief of Police responding here. A Chief is a leader. A Chief has BALLS and a Moral compass. This gutless wimp is a politician in a uniform.

Gator61
Gator61

It is ANY representation of the U.S. Flag they hate! If he had MS-13 Tatts they would call for him to be Promoted!

WalterL48
WalterL48

Sorry, but when ANYTHING has more than one meaning, like the Rainbow, etc., The Police chiefs need to stand WITH their officers. If people think it's something different then they need to be "enlightened" as to the multiple interpretations of said image.

rover77
rover77

another witch hunt instigated by the media

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

Oh for the love of everything holy.

Kelly133
Kelly133

"Closely resembles" and assuming? How about being 100% positive of what it is before you make an ass out yourself...oops too late

rover77
rover77

if 'chief' had considered the source : Hosterman's Twitter page is nothing but antifa rhetoric and anti cop rabblerousing , so the 'chief' is being used as a goon squad by the left check it out

rover77
rover77

the instigator, Daniel Hosterman ,Hosterman's Twitter and FB pages (for his photography business) are filled with left wing, anti cop, pro violent antifa rhetoric

RCK
RCK

Yep, visited his FB page ... a person would be hard-pressed to think him an advocate of the freedoms cited in the Bill of Rights. He has ANTIFA SUPPORTER written all over him.

walkintall
walkintall

4 years of service erased by the rantings of an antifa anti law enforcement nimrod. Lets be careful out there.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

This is why people film the cops. The "good" ones never call out the bad ones, so it's up to citizens to film them then leave it to the court of public opinion.

So an officer that's been there 4 years never had his sleeves rolled up until this day, so no one on the force saw the tattoo?

Right.

Anyway, another one bites the dust.

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

This is why tattoos should not be visible while in uniform. You cant put pins or badges or symbols on your uniform so you should not be able to display these types of things on your skin that is visible to the public. If you want tats you need to cover them. I always covered mine.

DixieBlue
DixieBlue

I have a magnolia. I guess I better get it covered before people assume that I'm associated with the antebellum south, since magnolia trees grow there. And my goodness, do I need to change my name from Dixie as well?

M4D
M4D

There is no "anti-government" associated with this group. I guess if you are a corrupt dishonest politician, who tears at the fabric of the US Constitution for your own greed, you may fear the Threepers. aka "WE THE PEOPLE".

satmantoo
satmantoo

@Hi_estComnDenomn you are so full of it! There is nothing wrong with the tattoo this officer was wearing and yet you act as if you failed to read the story before posting your racist anti police rant.

Grog
Grog

This is such bullsht! Liberals are out of control and have gone completely off the rails! If anything it is the Three Percenters who will protect people from the real neo-Nazis and Fascists such as Antifa and other anti-government organizations! I hope he has a great lawyer and sues the sht out the city!

Mic911
Mic911

There is nothing wrong with the tat! "We the People" with the stars is actually a very popular one among our troops and sailors especially. It stands for "God, Freedom and everything USA"...nothing political or anything else. This is another PC way our goverrnment and other admins of such work, it is absolute bullshit!! So what if he has the III in the middle, he may have served in the military aand had it done then, if so the PD knew when they hired him, so what is the big deal? SMDH

bunko376
bunko376

He had the tattoo when he was hired--right?, See what the media can do to "in-flame" the citizens--I don't believe the officer held back or covered the tattoo up, before or after he was employed-- So now, you want to make a big issue out of it, plus "suspending" him!! What did he do wrong?? You constantly "shoot yourself in the foot", by doing these things instead of enforcing the laws on the book-- Hope this officer seeks out counsel unless he lied on his application to become an officer. Did "upper mgt." know of the tattoo?-- Hope this young man is reinstated, unless he promotes racism,bigotry, etc... Sorry officer that you are being made into a "scapegoat" by liberal,left wing people who don't support officers in general--

diverrick
diverrick

I call BS on this. A flag with thirteen stars is the genesis of this country. How the hell can you be offended by this?

jmgard555
jmgard555

I have absolutely no issues with this officer having that particular tattoo. I am still only concerned with the initial problem of why the individuals were not stopped from destroying the statue. That purely falls on the chief, and as he said, our council manager form of government. If a Police Chief is a puppet of a town council(good or bad), he needs to seek new employment.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

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