Community members take sides after officer suspended over videos

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – One day after a Buffalo police officer was suspended without pay because of videos he was posting to social media, comments continue to roll in from people who support what that officer did and from those who support the department suspending him.

The Vine videos Officer Richard Hy made and posted but the department is not laughing.

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. The policy also says you can’t dishonor the position of officer on social media. The Department does not think the videos Officer Hy has been posting for months follow those rules.

In some of the videos, you can see Richard Hy’s name tag and his badge. And, while we have been told by some viewers that Hy is not wearing his real uniform in the videos, he is representing himself as an officer in many of them.

News 4 was told Hy had been warned in the past about his social media use. He learned of his suspension Monday.

Hy told News 4 he was not allowed to comment on the situation, but there was a post by Angry Cops on Instagram in response to our story, which said “I guess Cops can’t be funny or have a life outside of being emotionless robots.”

Many people have jumped to Hy’s defense. A GoFundMe page was set up as a show of support for Officer Hy, with all money raised going to families of fallen officers. That page exceeded its fundraising goal within hours of going online.

And, other officers around the country who post similar videos have also shown their support for Officer Hy. Mike the Cop, from the Detroit area, is part of a website called www.humanizing the badge.com and he says these videos do a lot of good. “I think that 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, and that they want to connect with the community in that kind of way,” he said.

Based on the huge amount of comments we’ve received on Facebook after our story aired Monday, a lot of people seem to agree with Mike the Cop.

MORE | See the original Facebook post here.

For example, Angela Nolan commented “A little humor can go a long way in bridging the gap between officers and civilians.”

Plenty of other people, though, say that humor was in bad taste, and say they support the decision to suspend Officer Hy. As Bob Abraham Sr pointed out on Facebook, “If he was aware of the department rules and did what he wanted to do anyways, then the punishment fits….sorry…”

We’d love to hear what you think about this situation. You can continue to comment on the post on our Facebook page.

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