The following contains editorial content written by a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
SAN JOSE, CA – A video of a San Jose Police sergeant doing a sort of exhibition using batons, with music from the Mortal Kombat movie soundtrack playing in the background, is under investigation by the police department.
I've never seen so many police officers speaking against another officer's actions in one story. THIS is what they are worried about? https://t.co/8EFjNYUA3q
— Kiki Intarasuwan (@kintarasu) April 16, 2021
Apparently, a video of San Jose Police Sgt. Eddie Chan using a couple of police batons while in full uniform doing some kind of martial arts moves with them as the theme song from the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie soundtrack plays in the background has sparked an investigation from the internal affairs office.
This video that reportedly wasn’t even publicly shared online by Sgt. Chan, as it was apparently just a video he took on his phone and someone at the police department watched it, managed to reach the news desk of NBC Bay Area news that wrote the following:
“The video shows Sgt. Eddie Chan showing his skill with two police batons to the theme from the video game and movie Mortal Kombat. It has made its rounds with many in the police department and some are now worried about the message it sends.”
As crazy as it sounds, NBC Bay Area reached out to a retired San Jose Police lieutenant by the name of Rob Millard, who at one point supervised Sgt. Chan during his career. Millard called the video “irresponsible” and proclaimed that it’s potentially damaging in “today’s climate”:
“I think the video was irresponsible, certainly in today’s climate.”
ONLY ON @nbcbayarea:
This selfie video landed @SanJosePD Sgt. Eddie Chan in the Internal Affairs Dept.
Tonight at 6, what Chan’s former supervisor said publicly, and what his comrades are saying privately. More from the video at 6 #MortalKombat pic.twitter.com/WFwjYQurn0
— Damian Trujillo (@newsdamian) April 16, 2021
After reaching out to a retired police lieutenant regarding this harmless video, NBC Bay Area reached out to a member of the NAACP, Reverend Jethro Moore.
Apparently, Rev. Moore thinks that this is nothing “we need to see from police”:
“That’s not what we need to see from police…I think it’s a sad place for him to be if he feels like he’s going into work to be in combat with someone.”
The report on this video written by NBC Bay Area concluded with the following:
“Nobody believes there is any crime made in the video, but many officers told NBC Bay Area this is not the image they want the public to have of their department.”
Exactly what officers are clutching their pearls, outside of that retired police lieutenant?
And who hosts public image concerns over a police sergeant standing in a desolate parking lot and playing with batons to perhaps one of the catchiest house/techno songs from 1995?
Honestly, if there’s policy related to the conduct of officers while in uniform that this video of Sgt. Chan breaches, then the internal affairs investigation should be a quick and easy instance of a supervisor telling the sergeant “Hey, don’t do this again.”
But for news outlets to take this video and show it to members of the NAACP and try to manufacture feigned concern that there might be some underlying message associated with a police sergeant just being goofy is the epitome of dumb.
Normal people, as in people with healthy, rational, functioning brains, are not going to extrapolate some nefarious intent associated with a police sergeant clearly just doing something for fun and being a little dorky.
— David (@David79332546) April 16, 2021
Even one person pointed out online, after NBC Bay Area decided to upload the video to Twitter, that the police sergeant is probably just having fun and is excited about the new Mortal Kombat movie coming out later in April.
People who find this video to be something to gasp over and afford commentary to the extent of ‘police officers don’t need to be doing things like this’ genuinely need to find a hobby and cultivate a personality that isn’t constructed primarily of outrage and offense.
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, people were subjected to TikTok videos of nurses in hospitals dancing like idiots and news media outlets were all like “Wow, this is stunning and brave and uplifting!”
Flash forward to 2021, and an equally harmless video that just so happens to feature a cop acting goofy on camera has suddenly changed the narrative to “This is concerning…better call the NAACP.”
My goodness, I remember back in 2014 and the subsequent years following where police officers across the country were doing these dancing and lip sync videos of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
But all the sudden we’re supposed mad that a police sergeant decided to do a little martial arts choreography to a 1995 techno song?
This is silly.
The fact that the San Jose Police Department opened up an internal affairs investigation into this video is not only stupid, but it’s also a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.
Back in January, Law Enforcement Today shared a report about a sheriff’s deputy in Florida getting investigated over dancing TikTok videos.
Here’s that previous report.
ORANGE COUNTY, FL – The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has reportedly begun an internal investigation into a 29-year-old deputy whose videos on TikTok have been seemingly uploaded to the platform while she was on-duty, adorning the agency’s uniform and possibly inside of a patrol vehicle.
— Mike DeForest (@DeForestNews6) January 26, 2021
While the sheriff’s office has not received any complaints about the content uploaded, there apparently are concerns about the general optics of a uniformed deputy uploading videos to social media while presumably on-duty.
Deputy Shelby Abramson joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Office back in November of 2019 and began uploading videos to TikTok roughly a few months after she was hired.
The OCSO became aware to Deputy Abramson’s social media activity after a fellow deputy within her chain of command had come across some of these videos.
From what the OCSO says of the videos reviewed so far, is that they are generally innocuous in nature.
Deputy Abramson, who works as a school resource officer, has apparently uploaded some videos of herself dancing along and lip syncing to various popular songs, some of which do have explicit lyrics, but nothing out of the norm of modern pop music.
Some of these other videos reportedly uploaded by the deputy encouraged her online following to support law enforcement and offers somewhat of a look inside the life of a sheriff’s deputy.
Another one of these videos apparently hosted Deputy Abramson showing off some of the issued equipment deputies are allotted, pointing out how her belt hosts a Taser and a single firearm.
Also, among some of the other videos uploaded by the deputy, Deputy Abramson appears to be standing in front or sitting inside of what appears to be her patrol vehicle.
A large component of this investigation, according to Sheriff John Mina, is that officials are just trying to get an understanding of where and when these videos were recorded.
The OCSO does host policy that outlines how the agency’s official social media channels should be managed, while also providing guidelines on how OCSO employees should manage their personal social media accounts.
Currently, Deputy Abramson has close to 64,000 followers on her TikTok; nearly the same amount of people that follow the official OCSO Twitter account and almost four times as many people that follow Sheriff Mina directly on Twitter.
As many have seen over the years, especially with the case of former Port of Seattle Police Officer Greg Anderson, utilizing social media while in uniform can be extremely dicey territory.
As such, the OCSO cautions their employees that speech which would normally fall under the First Amendment could serve as a basis for disciplinary action if the speech uploaded to social media is pursuant to their official duties and responsibilities and detrimental to the agency.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Montiero notes that law enforcement utilizing social media does have its positive aspects. Typically with many law enforcement officers using platforms to humanize themselves apart from the positions they hold. He stated:
“They want people to see, ‘Hey, look, I’m your neighbor. I listen to the same music as you.”
But even Trooper Montiero knows that there are caveats with law enforcement personnel uploading to social media while appearing to be on duty, i.e., when they are adorning official uniforms or inside of issued vehicles while posting online.
He says that some who see the videos online may be wondering whether the officers could be doing something more productive while on the taxpayers’ dime:
“Should (the officers) be responding to calls? Are they missing calls because of this? Do I think any of that is happening? Probably not. But it’s all about perception.”
The internal investigation into Deputy Abramson’s social media activity is ongoing, but she is reportedly still on the job while the matter is being investigated.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!