From IJR: A Miami assistant police chief is getting the attention of Americans for seemingly refusing to salute the flag of the United States in a video.
Anita Najiy, who is believed by some to be a Muslim American, stands flatly while her brothers and sisters in blue recite The Pledge of Allegiance.
The Miami New Times reported:
Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz was in the front row at a promotional event last week at Miami Police College to film Najiy, a 32-year-veteran of the agency, during the pledge. As other members placed their hands over their hearts, Najiy kept her arms by her sides.
In doing so, Ortiz says, she failed to exhibit courtesy and etiquette that “must be exercised when wearing a law enforcement uniform.”
“If you’re not pledging allegiance to the United States, my question is what country are you pledging allegiance to?” Ortiz says. “Anyone who isn’t offended by that is not American, because when you become a U.S. citizen, you pledge allegiance to the U.S.”
The report also mentions that Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz believes that Ms. Najiy may be refraining from the salute because she’s Muslim:
That’s not Ortiz’s only complaint. He also says he’s heard “rumors” that Najiy is Muslim, adding that if true, he respects her religion but that some normal “protections” of the freedoms of religion and speech don’t apply to those in police uniform, because “you’re supposed to be neutral.”
“The flag is a symbol of our country,” he says. “What is the difference if I decide to light a U.S. flag on fire in a police uniform?”
Unfortunately, the issue is unresolved due to both Ortiz and Najiy declining interviews with the Miami Herald, although that paper did give some context on the rules about pledging allegiance to the U.S. flag:
“Since she clearly has no respect for the flag or the United States, on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am requesting that Assistant Chief Najiy is removed as the commander of the MPD Honor Guard Detail,” Ortiz said in a letter Monday to Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes.
That’s not likely to happen. Though the police department’s code of conduct allows for a reprimand if an officer doesn’t salute the flag, it makes no mention of covering your heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. And not a single member of the command staff standing next to Najiy last week saluted the flag during the ceremony.
Furthermore, the Miami Herald states the view of Police Maj. Delrish Moss, who claims Najiy was just following military code:
Police Maj. Delrish Moss produced a section of the conduct code for U.S. military personnel, which he says supercedes police code. It reads: “When in uniform, indoors, stand at attention, remain silent, and face the flag.”
“That’s exactly what she did,” Moss said. “The Honor Guard follows U.S. military code. She was following U.S. military code. It had nothing to do with personal beliefs.”
It is unclear from the video if Najiy is attempting to stand at attention; however, it is clear that all of her colleagues were standing with their hands over their hearts.