A Florida law enforcement officer is defending himself after he was accused of posting racist videos on TikTok.
Indian River Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Dilks built a sizable following on TikTok with his wife Heidi. The two have more than 39,000 followers and over 1 million views.
Despite their popularity, some critics blasted their videos as being racially insensitive, the Daily Mail reports. In a few of the videos, the couple is seen lip-syncing along to clips that included the N-word. In one video, Dilks pretends to take his wife to jail as the couple lip-syncs to a video of a man happily singing “I Feel Good” by James Brown while sitting in the back of a police car. Both the cop and the happy captive are Black.
Dilks, using the cop’s voice, asked his wife, “Hey, why are you so happy back there while I’m taking you to jail?”
“I’m so happy, boy,” Heidi mouthed back. “Where you’re taking me, I’ve got 24 hours away from my wife.”
In another video, Heidi lip-synced, “real ass b—-h, give a f—k about a n—a,” a line from “Act Up,” a song by rap duo City Girls. An additional clip showed her mouthing a viral voicemail left by a Black woman who was upset with her white supervisor.
“This is for Rachel you big fat white nasty smelling fat b—-h. Why you took me off the motherf—–g schedule with your trifling dirty white racist ass?” the woman said in the message.
Anthony J. Brown, president of the Indian River chapter of the NAACP, was offended by the videos.
“This is straight-out racist. They even imitate a black man going to jail,” Brown told the Daily Mail.
“It’s conduct unbecoming a police officer, it’s inappropriate, unprofessional, disrespectful, demeaning and just plain stupid. It pounces on every stereotype and portrays an entire group of people negatively.”
Brown, a retired corrections officer, also highlighted the Black community’s tense relationship with law enforcement.
“And coming from a law enforcement officer, it’s even worse if you consider the context of police brutality against our people,” he added.
Dilks didn’t see the issue and believed TikTok is a way for him to show a different side of a police officer.
“I’m successful on Tik Tok because I’ve got a real connection with the viewers,” he said. “My goal is to show cops are normal people who have some fun. It’s all tasteful. Nothing crazy. And 95 percent of the posts are done off-duty.”
The officer believes any complaints about the clips he used should be taken elsewhere.
“If there are complaints, maybe they should be sent to Tik Tok. Yes, there is rough language. But everybody hears the same songs on the radio,” he continued. “Is it racist for a white kid to sing hip-hop songs with rough language?”
Despite his defensiveness, the City Girls and voicemail videos were removed after his interview with Daily Mail. The Indian River Sheriff’s Office told The Miami Herald there will be “an internal inquiry” into Dilk’s social media behavior.
Atlanta Black Star as well asked the sheriff’s office for its reaction to this matter but did not receive a response.