Criminals aren’t the only people who get into trouble for their public activities on social media sites; police officers can get into trouble too.
The Buffalo Police Department has suspended one of their police officers without pay for some questionable videos that he posted on social media sites. Officer Richard Hy was suspended by the Buffalo Police Department for posting several videos that parody police officers.
Hy posted the videos on Facebook, Instagram and Vine under the account name “Angry Cops.” His Facebook account has over 18,000 followers and his Instagram account has 31,000 followers, making Hy somewhat of a social media celebrity.
One of Hy’s controversial videos depicted a police officer stealing cocaine from an evidence storage room. Some of his other videos made fun of prison rapes and shooting people.
Officer Hy stars in many of his Vine videos dressed in what looks like his official Buffalo Police uniform and badge.
The Buffalo Police Department has not commented publicly on the content of Hy’s videos. However, they have said that Hy violated department policies that forbid police officers from appearing on social media sites dressed in their uniforms. Hy also reportedly recorded some of his video skits on government property and inside the department’s buildings.
Hy claims that his goal was to humanize cops and that his videos were not made with any malicious intent. He told reporters that he thought the videos where nothing more than harmless police humor. In addition, he claims that the uniform and badge he wears in the videos are fake.
Inside sources at the Buffalo Police Department told reporters that Officer Hy was warned by his superiors three times in the past about his controversial videos; but he continued to ignore these warnings by sharing them online as well as with fellow cops and other city government workers in Buffalo, NY.
The Buffalo Police Department claims that Hy’s videos were a direct violation of the department’s social media policy for employees. A number of social media experts and public relations professionals agree with the department’s decision.
Public relations professionals generally agree with the right of a company or organization to set standards for employee conduct on social media sites. Social media policies can be even more strict for employees of government departments like police officers, who are expected to meet a higher standard with their professional and public behavior.
Hy has posted his response to the suspension on social media sites like Instagram. According to his Instagram post, Hy thinks that the disciplinary actions taken against him by the Buffalo Police Department means that cops can’t show a sense of humor and are expected to be emotionless robots both on and off the job.
Officer Hy’s actions have drawn support from some people in the general public. One of his supporters has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money in his honor. The GoFundMe donations will be given to the Fallen Officer Foundation. So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised significantly more money than its original $800 goal.
Officer Richard Hy is 29 years old and has been with the Buffalo Police Department for 3 years. His suspension without pay can last for a period of up to 30 days. However, his newfound comic fame may lead him towards a new career path.