A Bedford police officer is on paid administrative leave as the department investigates a series of TikTok videos in which he is in uniform and in a cruiser, saying in one that he should consider making his own private channel, “No liberals allowed.”
A second Bedford police officer’s TikTok posts are also being scrutinized.
“We are taking it extraordinarily seriously,” Police Chief John Bryfonski said on Monday in a statement.
In one of the video posts, an officer with the TikTok account handle @officer_tino, rolls down the window of a police vehicle and yells, “Hey, you look like you are going to shoot those people. Could you just not, oh, he is pointing it at me. I am out.” He then rolls up the window and drives away.
In another segment he tells an unseen person to stop stabbing someone as comical music plays in the background.
Bryfonski said the department does not allow its officers to make divisive or political statements or use social media while on duty, in uniform and using department equipment.
“The Bedford Police Department seeks to provide equal service and treatment to all people and any actions that sow doubt in our department’s mission will be addressed in a timely and appropriate manner,” the chief said.
The chief said he learned of one TikTok video on Saturday and immediately ordered an investigation. On Sunday, he became aware of a compilation of TikTok videos by the two officers posted on YouTube.
“If other Bedford police officers were involved in any inappropriate videos or postings, additional measures will be taken consistent with the department’s policies and procedures,” the chief said in a statement that did not include the officers’ identity.
The two officers are identified by name in the compilation YouTube video and the person posting it says photos on the Bedford police website match the officer’s faces on the videos.
On Monday, a Merrimack resident filed a formal complaint about the videos.
“This is a bad representation of the use of taxpayer money,” Ben Hahne said.
“It was upsetting and instills very little confidence in the police department,” said Hahne, who lives on the Bedford border.
“This makes me feel less safe in my own area,” Hahne said of the TikTok posts.
One of the most disturbing comments, Hahne said, was “no liberals allowed,” made by the officer with the account @officer_tino. The video was initially posted on the officer’s public account, which has since been made private.
“I don’t like this idea of us versus them. It is upsetting that it does become a polarizing issue. Police officers shouldn’t be making statements aligning themselves on any one political side,” he said.
In one video, a second officer, known as @officerpiglet5oh on TikTok, complains about the cruiser’s flashing emergency lights.
“I know it is a pretty bad thing to say since I am a cop, but these flashing lights are the worst thing in the (expletive) world,” he said.
In another TikTok post by @officerpiglet5oh, an officer in uniform is running outside in the dark while carrying his phone. A second officer, also in uniform, is driving by in his cruiser. He asks why his fellow officer is running and gets the answer, “I was recording a TikTok, dude.”
Bryfonski said the department has a “robust social media policy and employment policies governing conduct on and off duty.”
A review of its social media policy has been initiated to ensure that it is in line with modern best practices, he said.