Police have been handing out department-made fliers advertising a website selling Donald Trump merch to drivers at traffic stops in Miami-Dade County, the Miami Herald recently reported.
The fliers included a link to a website — miami-dadeclerk.com — where people with traffic citations can pay off fines or register for driving school. But the first instance of the link on the flier was missing a hyphen, even though the correct link was included later in the flier.
People who visited the incorrect link were redirected to an online store with Amazon links. The page, at findsale.com, advertised items including pro-Trump flags with sayings like “Let’s Go Brandon” and “Hillary Belongs in Prison, Joe Belongs in a Nursing Home.”
Also for sale was a 97-minute film called Trump 2024: The World After Trump, which features far right figures like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and PragerU founder Dennis Prager. The film bills itself as exposing the “aggressive movement to transform America, strip away its freedoms and Judeo-Christian values.”
It’s unclear why the link, which now redirects to a Florida judicial commission website, originally redirected to the website with the Trump merchandise. The Washington Post found that the non-hyphenated site is hosted by Epik, which also hosts far right websites like Gab and Parler, which were kicked off of other hosting services for platforming hate speech and violence.
Greetings, Miami Beach Twitter: Were you stopped by Miami Beach police and issued one of these fliers on how to resolve a minor citation online? Would like to hear from you. pic.twitter.com/HbD3xZciq0
— Doug Hanks (@doug_hanks) February 15, 2022
Miami Beach police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez told the Miami Herald that the incorrect link was a typo and that police are launching an inquiry into the incident. According to Rodriguez, the department had received copies of the flier with the correct links from the county, but it “produced its own version of the notices and the error was inserted at some point during the printing process.”
One state judge, Judge Steve Leifman, said that it was “disgusting” to see government sources directing people toward political merchandise.
It’s possible that the website redirect was an unfortunate coincidence; the police union defended officers handing out the fliers, saying that officers didn’t check the links to make sure they were correct.
In recent years, however, police have become increasingly vocal in their support of right-wing political candidates and far right extremism. For instance, officials are currently investigating dozens of off-duty police officers who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.; Capitol Police officers who were supposed to be holding the crowd back were also allegedly involved in helping the crowd enter the building to interrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
A leak of member rolls from the far right militia Oath Keepers last year contained names of active police officers in major cities, and research has shown that domestic terrorist plots and attacks committed by law enforcement personnel and active duty or reserve military figures have increased over the past few years in particular.
Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.
Truthout is widely read among people with lower incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so — especially now, because we have just 3 days left to raise $35,000 in critical funds.
We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?