Cop suspended over Vine videos responds online

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 22, 2016

A Buffalo Police Officer, who's been on the force for three years, has been suspended for violating the department's social media policy.

Now Officer Richard Hy is responding on social media, writing "I guess cops can't be funny or have a life outside of being emotionless robots."

Below is an example of one of the Vine videos Hy posted:

According to sources, Officer Richard Hy posted inappropriate videos on his social media accounts and has been suspended without pay.

The Buffalo Police Department tells 7 Eyewitness News it became aware of the incidents and an internal investigation is ongoing.

Hy is receiving plenty of support from friends and complete strangers online.

A former coworker, who wished to remain anonymous said, "I mean they're pretty harmless. They're light hearted compared to all the other things we hear about cops all the time. And then you have a guy like this and he's able to show a kind of lighter side to the personality of a cop."

According to department policy, an officer can have a personal social media account, as long as they don't post in uniform.

Someone started a GoFundMe account for the officer while he's on suspension. Its goal was $800 but it ended up raising $1,300 in 19 hours. Information on the GoFundMe page said the donations will be given to a police charity: The Fallen Officer Foundation.

The officer's unpaid suspension could last as long as 30 days. There was no comment from the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, Inc (PBA) about the discipline or what will happen during the internal investigation.

However, the controversy is opening the debate about using humor to break down barriers between police and community. "When people are laughing they are not mad," said Sgt. Tim Cotton from the Bangor Police Department in Maine.

According to Sgt. Cotton, the Bangor Police department undertook a new humor-filled approach to its postings on Facebook which greatly increased followers and resulted in police getting more cooperation from the public when solving crimes. The effort also attracted national attention online and through media outlets.

"We do try to make fun of ourselves as much as possible because humor is the universal language that breaks down barriers everywhere," said Sgt. Cotton.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly spoke with some members of the Buffalo City Council who want Officer Hy to stay on the force after serving his suspension.

"I think he was just being humorous. He just made some bad decisions in how, but I really think he was trying to show that police laugh also," said Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen.

"I hope he will follow the protocols and use better judgment in the future, and maybe do something more comical, not in uniform, but maybe a little more comical and include the community," said Lovejoy District Council Member Richard Fontana.