I recently became aware of a photograph that is circulating social media and an online news website call the “Shore News Network”. I immediately directed an investigation by the Gloucester Township Police Professional Standards Unit.
The photograph falsely claims that a member of the “Pelosi Security Points Gun at Trump Supporters from New Jersey Rooftop”. The picture was taken by a civilian on the ground. The photograph is of an Officer of the Gloucester Township Police Department Special Response Team who was assigned as part on the event detail, for the “Rally for Progress” at the Camden County College in Gloucester Township on February 29, 2020. The “Rally for Progress” was attended by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, along with other dignitaries, along with over 1,500 people who were on the campus.
The online story FALSELY reports “a member of the Democrats’ security force, dangerously pointing a firearm at the crowd of civilians”. The Gloucester Township Police Officer in the picture is using an independent spotting scope, NOT a firearm. At no time was a firearm pointed in the direction of any civilian during this event. These highly trained and professional officers were deployed in an effort to observe and protect against any threats. Not only threats to the dignitaries that were attending, but to any threats to the large number of citizens that were attending.
It is our responsibility in this post 9/11 era to be prepared and keep our citizens safe. It is a responsibility that we at the Gloucester Township Police Department take very seriously. We regularly deploy our officers and other assets at large gatherings to keep our people safe. In my opinion this “news story” is poor journalism, with false information listed in the story.
The security operation for the “Rally for Progress” on February 29, 2020 was successful with no significant incidents, and citizens who were free to exercise their Constitutional Rights.
Chief David Harkins #122
Gloucester Township Police Department