The Buffalo cop who was disciplined over his humorous videos that went viral is back on the job, but he is not giving up comedy.
Officer Richard N. Hy returned to work late Wednesday after serving a 22-day unpaid suspension and agreeing to obey the department’s social media policy, which he violated by appearing in a police uniform and portraying himself in off-the-wall situations that police brass felt demeaned the force.
But soon after going back to work, Hy posted a new video on his “Angry Cops” Vine social media site, this time portraying himself as a firefighter. “You know there is a saying,” Hy says with a grin on his face. “When one door closes, another door opens.” As he utters the words, Hy puts on a firefighter’s helmet.
The new video, which has now been removed from Hy’s Vine site, followed a disciplinary hearing Wednesday when some 50 departmental charges were dropped and Hy pleaded to one count of conduct unbecoming of an officer.
A police department policy prohibits officers from speaking with the media, but Matthew A. Milewski, a longtime friend of Hy, said the officer intends to adhere to the social media policy and will no longer make videos in which he appears as a police officer or any member of law enforcement.
“He will continue to post social media but it will not have anything to do with law enforcement,” Milewski said. “He is switching to a new genre.”
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, who imposed the suspension, declined to comment.
Hy, according to Milewski, is grateful to have the chance to return to police work.
“Richard is ecstatic that he is back on the job and moving forward. He always wanted to get back to protecting and serving our community,” Milewski said.
When Hy, a three-year member of department, was suspended last month, his friends explained that the point of the videos was to humanize police and show that they had a sense of humor. His videos had garnered more than 6.5 million views.
Hy had been previously brought up on charges for the videos and given what amounted to a slap on the wrist – a reprimand. When the most recent department charges were lodged, Milewski explained that Hy was dressed in a costume that looked like a police uniform and a prop police badge.
“He never thought that he was in violation of the social media policy,” said Milewski, adding that his friend has “assured the department that he will abide by that policy in all aspects.”
Hy’s cop videos were sometimes irreverent and raunchy, poking fun at cocaine use, police shootings and police interrogation techniques.
Of the new firefighter video, police officials declined to comment.