This week, Sanford, Florida police officer Andrew Ricks was fired from the department for hopping onstage in uniform and singing along with the death metal band Vital Remains as they performed their song “Let the Killing Begin.” Hey, at least it wasn’t Vital Remains’ other big hit, “Born to Rape the World.”
“An incident of this nature erodes the thin fibers of trust which already exist between the community and the police, and it will not be tolerated within the Sanford Police Department,” police chief Cecil Smith said of his decision. Other officers who may have eroded the thin fibers of trust in Sanford: Ned Golden, who sent “racially inappropriate” messages from his department computer in 2010 and was not fired, but suspended for two weeks, before going on to falsely accuse a man of attempted murder; or the cops who failed to arrest George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin.
Ricks probably shouldn’t have gone onstage in uniform—especially if he had his gun on his hip—but officers in Sanford and elsewhere have done a lot worse than that for less punishment. In most circumstances I’d advise him to wait for a tune that doesn’t involve violence and death, but a brief search through Vital Remains’ catalog shows they didn’t leave him with many friendly options.