Two Chicago police officers, who were photographed while in uniform taking a knee and thrusting a fist in the air supporting Colin Kaepernick, are now facing disciplinary action, reports said.
Authorities have not released the names of the officers, who are both African-American, but a spokesman for the department said official policy prohibits officers from making political statements while in uniform.
“We are aware of the photo, and we will address it in the same way we have handled previous incidents in which officers have made political statements while in uniform, with a reprimand and a reminder of department policies,” the department said in a statement.
Activist Aleta Clark, who posed in the middle, posted the photo on Instagram with the caption: “That moment when you walk into the police station and ask the men of color are they against police brutality and racism, and they say ‘yes.'”
Clark said the police officers also kneeled in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.
The photo has since been spread widely and has sparked outrage from the public. Some were outraged and stood with the police department.
After learning of the punishment, Clark posted a separate video of an interview she gave with reporters defending the cops.
“This is my message to those officers — I stand behind you,” she said. “You showed us that even with a shield, even working for the police department, that you are still human and that you still recognize that racism still exists and that police brutality is real. And you stood against that.”
“Don’t be Afraid to be Controversial,” she added in another post. “I will stand behind them! Go Bother the killers of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Tamar Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and the list goes on and on.. these men did a Noble thing! They let me know that even in uniform they’re against Police Brutality & Racism! They took a Kneel for Us when nobody else would that looked like them!”
The department’s decision to reprimand the officers comes during a time when the country is sharply divided over athletes and protesters taking a knee during the National Anthem.
Meanwhile, President Trump attacked football players who protest during the National Anthem, calling them “sons of bitches.” The offhand remarks sparked uproar from the athletes and sports analysts, which put the third week of the NFL season into the center of a political controversy.