On Friday, the head of an NYPD union, Ed Mullins, appeared on Fox News with a QAnon mug clear displayed beside him. Mullins heads up the Sergeants Benevolent Association — the second-largest union representing New York City Police officers, according to a report by CNN. He seemed to be intentionally declaring his belief in the conspiracy theory.
Mullins' mog featured a large letter "Q" with an American flag pattern on it, turned to face towards his webcam during his interview on Fox News. It also read "QANON" and "WWG1WGA" — an acronym often used as a hashtag among QAnon believers. It stands for "where go one, we go all." QAnon has been assessed as a dangerous movement by the FBI, and its followers have committed acts of domestic terrorism.
New York police union boss just appeared on Fox News with a Qanon mug pic.twitter.com/w3HMHEtVuj— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 17, 2020
Social media sleuths have no determined that Mullins has conspicuously displayed his QAnon mug in other video chat interviews recently as well. However, when CNN reporters asked him and the Sergeants Benevolent Association for a comment on the conspiracy theory, they declined to give one.
QAnon is the umbrella term for a number of conspiracy theories based on the belief that there is a secret "deep state" power structure within the U.S. government, and that President Donald Trump is actively fighting it from within. It is mostly based on the trail of online clues all attributed to a person going by the screen name "Q." It began on the 4chan imageboard in October of 2017, and has since spiraled out of control from there.
Believers in the theory hold that Q is a high-ranking military or government official, with access to classified information that could take down the "deep state" if deployed correctly. They believe that this person and others are working with the Trump administration to topple this organization, and take everything from a spelling error to a subtle hand gesture as a sign.
QAnon has been tied to targeted harassment campaigns, acts of anti-Semitism, the murder of Frank Cali and the mass shooting often referred to as "PizzaGate." Mullins' endorsement of this conspiracy theory came in interviews about the uptick in violent crime in large American cities, and the national reckoning with systemic racism and police violence. It concerned New York City residents, other city officials and author Mike Rothschild, who recently wrote a book about the QAnon phenomenon.
"It's frightening that someone so closely linked to law enforcement would seemingly endorse the ideas of Q, which is dedicated to the illegal and unconstitutional use of the military as a police force to hold tribunals and execute America's enemies," Rothschild told CNN.