Greenwich, CT – A veteran Greenwich police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave for attempting to sabotage a local GOP candidate’s campaign by posting signs that made it look like he was running with President Donald Trump.
“Local elections matter. Vote Republican,” the red-and-white signs read. “Vote Team Trump/Camillo. Make Greenwich Great Again.”
The signs were placed in 39 locations throughout Greenwich, an upper-class suburb of New York City, where 57 percent of locals voted for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race, the New York Post reported.
Fred Camillo, who has been a state representative since 2008, is now running for the office of first selectman, which is somewhat akin to a mayoral position, according to the paper.
Camillo said he did not authorize the signs and that they were used to “deliberately mislead” voters, the New York Post reported.
He said that it didn’t matter whose names were on them – only that the content was deceptive.
“It could have been Camillo/Reagan or Camillo/Roosevelt,” Camillo said. “I didn’t authorize this. That’s the issue here.”
He referred to the signs as “horrible” and demanded that they be taken down.
The political signs caused an uproar in Greenwich as residents launched their own investigations to find out who was responsible for them.
On Oct. 28, Greenwich Police Captain Mark Kordick admitted that he was the one who had purchased the signs, the Greenwich Free Press reported.
Capt. Kordick said that he was placed on administrative leave by Greenwich Deputy Police Chief Mark Marino later the same day.
“[Chief Marino] said it was about the signs and asked me if I was responsible for the purchase of the signs and I answered truthfully that I was,” the captain told the Greenwich Free Press.
The 31-year veteran-of-the-force spent $253.55 to have the signs made, and another citizen posted them around town, the New York Post reported.
“I was trying to point out [Camillo’s] hypocrisy,” Capt. Kordick said. “You can’t distance yourself from your own party. I was making an honest association. It was certainly designed to provoke thought.”
“I’ve never denied I did it,” he told the Greenwich Free Press. “I have not been untruthful. I participated in it.”
Before he made the signs, the captain said he checked with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to make sure what he was doing was legal, the New York Post reported.
“I was assured that an individual citizen purchasing and displaying political signs was not an SEEC violation as long as there was no coordination with any political campaign or party,” Capt. Kordick told the Greenwich Free Press. “There was no such coordination in this case.”
The police captain denounced “national Republican politics” and said that having the signs posted was his First Amendment right.
“Every person in Greenwich who doesn’t have the same privilege I do as a white male heterosexual is affected by Republican national politics when it comes to issues of racial equality, ethnic equality, women’s rights, and LBGTQ rights,” he told the Greenwich Free Press.
“I’m a Greenwich resident, taxpayer and registered voter,” he added. “My free speech has been breached by [the signs’] removal.”
Capt. Kordick also argued that he did nothing to warrant being disciplined by the Greenwich Police Department (GPD).
“They haven’t actually identified any violation of policy,” he told the New York Post. “I edited our 600-page policy manual. I am certainly not aware of protected political speech that occurs off-duty that is a violation of policy in any way.”
Capt. Kordick, who described himself as one of the few “progressively-minded” officers working for the GPD, said he has retained an attorney.
“I didn’t know the municipal government could issue an employment consequence for my participation in the political process like every American citizen,” he told the Greenwich Free Press.
The Greenwich police said the department would not comment on the incident “until all the facts are reviewed,” the New York Post reported.
“He was very deceptive,” Camillo said of Capt. Kordick. “He was deliberately misleading the voters.”