Dover police chief asks for removal of photo from candidate’s website

Justin King

DOVER — 17th Senatorial District candidate Justin King, the mayor of Camden, recently was chided by Dover’s chief of police over a modified photo of law enforcement on his website. While Mr. King has since removed the image in question, he believes the issue was mishandled by Dover officials, causing it to be blown out of proportion.

A letter sent to Mr. King and Dover City Council by Chief Marvin Mailey and dated July 2 states Dover police officials became aware of “an altered image of a police officer wearing the patch/insignia of the City of Dover Police Department” on Mr. King’s campaign website.

Chief Mailey asked Mr. King, who is set to compete in a Republican primary with Donyale Hall on Sept. 6, to take the image down to avoid giving the impression the Dover Police Department supports his campaign.

“The City of Dover Police Department has a strict policy regarding these sorts of issues and this would be a clear violation if any city employees did this,” Chief Mailey wrote. “While you are not compelled to adhere to city policies, we are respectfully requesting that it is removed as soon as possible. If it is not removed, we will need to issue a public statement to clarify the matter in the interest of the public’s trust.”

Mr. King said his campaign took the Photoshopped image down within a day. A photo of two generic police officers now appears on his website.

Marvin Mailey

The image was not intended to indicate an endorsement from Dover police, he said, but rather as a sign of his support for law enforcement. As mayor of Camden, he has added officers and focused on deterring crime, he said.

He does not believe the image was misleading, and while he removed the photo, Mr. King said he contacted an attorney over Chief Mailey’s “demand,” feeling it was unreasonable.

“This to me, it’s under my First Amendment,” he said. “I don’t work for the city of Dover. There’s no unauthorized use because I’m not a city employee.”

Mr. King expressed his feelings that Dover officials erred by having Chief Mailey send him a letter rather than having Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen approach him privately.

“My police chief has nothing to do with anyone’s campaign,” he said.

Mayor Christiansen, who called a reporter unprompted to discuss the subject, feels the situation is overblown.

“It’s a dead issue. Mayor King handled it, the chief registered his concern and his concern was addressed,” he said, adding the two mayors exchanged apologies for the whole affair.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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