BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo Police Officer was trying to be funny but his department isn’t laughing.
Buffalo Police Officer Richard Hy, a three-year veteran of the force assigned to the Housing Unit, was suspended without pay Monday afternoon for violating the department’s social media policy.
For many months he’s been doing seven-second skits under the name of Angry Cops, appearing on social media site Vine. In one such post, he appears in a Santa hat and what appears to be his Buffalo Police jacket singing, “Dashing your parole, with a one gun crack arrest, throw you in a cell.”
Buffalo Police have a strict policy which reads that officers can be on social media, but not in uniform and not representing themselves as officers. You can see Richard Hy’s name tag in some of these videos and his badge. The policy also says you can’t dishonor the position of officer on social media.
In one video, he implies that he’s out of vacation days and pretends to shoot someone.
“I’m out of vacation days, shut up I just grazed you,” he said.
Apparently, Richard Hy has been warned before about his use of social media, and the Department isn’t amused to see him appear in a police station pretending to ingest cocaine from the evidence locker.
“I just took a bunch of coke from the evidence locker,” Hy jokingly exclaimed in the video which depicted him fleeing from a fellow officer.
Since the first story aired, friends of Richard Hy called to say he was not wearing a real Buffalo uniform or badge, but that didn’t seem to matter to the department.
Two other police officers who also post videos like this called to explain that they do it to show that cops aren’t robots, that they have a tough job and sometimes need to vent.
Mike the Cop from the Detroit area is part of a website called www.humanizing the badge.com.
“I think it’s great for cops to be able to take some time out of their day to show the human side of the badge, that they have a sense of humor. Are we perfect, and is every cop gonna’ agree? No. Sometimes maybe the sense of humor is missed by some, but it’s caught by a whole bunch of others.”
We also heard from a California officer who posts videos on Instagram under the name ‘Hookem’.
“It does show our human side, it shows us as people.”
Hookem says he knows Richard Hy.
“I can tell you that there’s nobody that cares (more) about doing a good job as a cop and protecting the people of Buffalo than he does, and I think him putting his life on the line every day for the citizens of Buffalo really illustrates that.”
The Buffalo Police Department usually suspends an officer ‘with pay’ until he can be afforded a departmental hearing. In this case, Richard Hy was suspended immediately ‘without pay’, but according to the rules of the City and the Police Benevolent Association, he can only be on unpaid suspension for up to 30 days.