A U.S. Navy sailor in uniform was caught on video confronting a group of people waving American flags on the sidewalk of a busy California street. In the video, the sailor can be seen getting out of her car and yelling, “Fuck Trump, fuck you.”
The caption for a Facebook video of the incident indicated the sailor was identified as Sarah Dudrey. The sailor’s behavior has prompted calls for her to face discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for engaging in political activity while in uniform.
It is unclear from the context of the video, how the confrontation began, but a caption for a Facebook video claimed Dudrey pulled up in a borrowed car, parked the car illegally on a busy main street and blocked an entire lane of traffic while she confronted the demonstrators. The demonstration took place near the Ventura County Government Center.
After yelling “Fuck Trump,” Dudrey could be seen flashing the middle finger and screaming in people’s faces.
The Department of Defense policy regarding political activity among service members states “all military members, including National Guard and Reserve forces, are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign events.”
The Hatch Act broadly prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while serving in their government work capacity, but allows those employees to engage in politics on their own time and outside of the federal workplace.
The crowd of demonstrators seemed to understand the apparent infraction of uniform policy when Dudrey confronted them while wearing a Navy woodland camouflage uniform. People can be heard yelling “shame on you” at Dudrey and calling for her to take off the military uniform. Another man is heard telling Dudrey to “Learn how to act in a fucking uniform, you fucking piece of shit!”
Dudrey, 24, was indentified by officials as a Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Launch/Recovery) 2nd Class, Navy Times reported. She is stationed at Naval Base Ventura County, around 15 miles from the site of the confrontation.
“The Navy is a proponent of free speech and active-duty members are free to participate in protests during their off-duty time,” Navy spokeswoman Melinda Larson said in a statement to Navy Times. “However, Navy members are not authorized to wear military uniforms while engaging in protests and voicing personal opinions.”
Larson indicated the Navy was investigating the incident.
“After a thorough inquiry into the matter, the Commanding Officer will make a determination on what actions are warranted,” Larson said.
In February, Defense Secretary Mark Esper released an election year reminder memo for service members to avoid political activity while in uniform.