Saturday, 28 March 2020

'This is straight out racist!' White Florida sheriff's deputy is becoming a Tik Tok star with 'insensitive' videos where he imitates sending a black man to jail while his wife lip-syncs the n-word

A Florida sheriff's deputy and his wife are becoming Tik Tok stars with video snippets that some might find humorous but many in the black community find downright racist.
In videos posted to his account on the video platform, Michael Dilks, a corporal, is seen in his green Indian River County Sheriff's uniform and using his marked SUV while he and his wife, medical tech Heidi Dilks, lip-sync to hip hop tunes or to lines from black actors that use a variety of racists and sexist terms like the n-word and bi**h.
Dilks admitted to producing a few of the videos while on-duty, saying that '95 percent of them' were made off-duty.
One of their videos has been viewed 1.2 million times.
Dilks has more than 60,000 Tik Tok followers, a surprisingly wide audience for anyone in Vero Beach, a small coastal town just north of Palm Beach.
Sheriff's deputy and wife lip sync to hip hop songs on TikTok
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Corporal Michael Dilks is becoming a Tik Tok sensation with videos he takes of himself and his wife, medical tech Heidi Dilks. The couple are being bashed as racist by the black community while the officer is being shamed for performing for the camera in uniform
Corporal Michael Dilks is becoming a Tik Tok sensation with videos he takes of himself and his wife, medical tech Heidi Dilks. The couple are being bashed as racist by the black community while the officer is being shamed for performing for the camera in uniform
One video shows Dilks in his service SUV pretending to take his wife to jail. His service shotgun is propped up behind the seat while his wife imitates the voice of a black man
One video shows Dilks in his service SUV pretending to take his wife to jail. His service shotgun is propped up behind the seat while his wife imitates the voice of a black man
One video shows Dilks in his service SUV pretending to take his wife to jail. His service shotgun is propped up behind the seat while his wife dubs the voice of a black man
'This is straight out racist,' said local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Anthony J. Brown, a retired corrections officer, after he saw Dilk's work. 'They even imitate a black man going to jail.
'It's conduct unbecoming a police officer, it's inappropriate, unprofessional, disrespectful, demeaning and just plain stupid. It pounces on every stereotype and portrays an entire group of people negatively.
'And coming from a law enforcement officer, it's even worse if you consider the context of police brutality against our people.'
Neither Sheriff Deryl Loar nor Major Eric Flowers, the agency's public information officer, responded to emails requesting their comment.
According to the copy of the agency's Code of Conduct obtained by DailyMail.com, rule HHH reads: 'Sheriff's office personnel are prohibited from using any photographs or videos containing sheriff's office uniforms, vehicles and other equipment belonging to the agency and/or anything identifying the Indian River County Sheriff's Office in any way that compromises or undermines the integrity of the sheriff's office for use on websites, television or print media.'
While Dilks and his wife pulled down most of the allegedly offensive Tik Tok postings minutes after he spoke with DailyMail.com, we did obtain copies.
The first shows Dilks purportedly in his service SUV pretending to take his wife to jail. His service shotgun is propped up behind the seat.
She sits in the back, behind a partition reserved for the suspects, and lip-syncs the voice of a happy black man who first sings a line from James Brown's I Feel Good.
Dilks, in uniform, turn around and lip-sync the soundtrack of another man who says: 'Hey, why are you so happy back there while I'm taking you to jail?'
'I'm so happy boy,' his wife lip-syncs, 'Where you're taking me, I've got 24 hours away from my wife.'
In another, Dilks is out of uniform as he sits on the back seat of his wife's car. Heidi pretends to drive and lip-syncs the words of City Girls' Act Up song, 'Real A** Bi**h Give A F**k About A Ni**a'
In another, Dilks is out of uniform as he sits on the back seat of his wife's car. Heidi pretends to drive and lip-syncs the words of City Girls' Act Up song, 'Real A** Bi**h Give A F**k About A Ni**a'
Another video shows Heidi lip-syncing to the recording left by an irate black woman on a company voice mail after she was taken off a schedule: 'This is for Rachel you big fat white nasty smelling fat bi**h. Why you took me off the motherf***ing schedule with your trifling dirty white racist a**?'
Another video shows Heidi lip-syncing to the recording left by an irate black woman on a company voice mail after she was taken off a schedule: 'This is for Rachel you big fat white nasty smelling fat bi**h. Why you took me off the motherf***ing schedule with your trifling dirty white racist a**?'
Another video shows Heidi lip-syncing to the recording left by an irate black woman on a company voice mail after she was taken off a schedule: 'This is for Rachel you big fat white nasty smelling fat bi**h. Why you took me off the motherf***ing schedule with your trifling dirty white racist a**?'
In another, Dilks is recognizable but out of uniform as he sits on the back seat of his wife's car with Heidi pretending to drive and lip-syncing the words of City Girls' Act Up tune, 'Real A** Bi**h Give A F**k About A Ni**a.'
And yet another shows the wife lip-syncing to the recording left by an irate black woman on a company voice mail after she was taken off a schedule: 'This is for Rachel you big fat white nasty smelling fat bi**h. Why you took me off the motherf***ing schedule with your trifling dirty white racist a**?'
Tik Tok is widely used by middle and high school and college students, but also cops and firefighters.
It's mostly populated with videos 15 seconds or less showing people dancing to popular songs or lip-syncing to voices or songs pre-loaded into the system.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Dilks defended his videos, and placed the blame for racially offensive material on Tik Tok.
'I'm successful on Tik Tok because I've got a real connection with the viewers,' the father-of-four said. 'My goal is to show cops are normal people who have some fun. It's all tasteful. Nothing crazy. And 95 percent of the posts are done off-duty.'
Indeed, some of his postings are the modern equivalent to newspaper cartoon strips.
And he says he recently received a letter from a third grader in Utah saying Dilks' postings make him want to become a cop.
'I even reunited through Tik Tok someone who was a sex crime victim as a child who wanted to get in contact with the detective who saved her,' Dilks said. 'I think I'm showing law enforcement in a light that is really positive.'
In one instance, Dilks even interviews a motorist he saved from a partly submerged car flipped on its roof in a canal.
Dilks said neither he nor his wife Heidi, a staffer in a rejuvenation clinic, thought they were doing anything hurtful to anyone.
'The way Tik Tok works is that you lip-sync some of the drops that are available to users,' he said. 'So whatever song or movie line I'm using is made available to all users. I use a lot of drops from (The Upside star) Kevin Hart.
'If there are complaints, maybe they should be sent to Tik Tok. Yes, there is rough language. But everybody hears the same songs on the radio.
'Is it racist for a white kid to sing hip-hop songs with rough language?' 
Besides, he said, Tik Tok is popular with cops and firefighters in uniform who obviously post while on-duty.
'There are thousands of Tik Tok postings by uniformed, on-duty police officers and sheriff's deputies,' he said. 'It's not a big deal.'
And, Dilks added, just about everyone at the Indian River County Sheriff's Office has seen his clips and no one, he says, has voiced any objection.
Minutes after our chat, Dilks pulled down several of his and his wife's Tik Tok's postings and replaced them with a clip of his playing football with black children.
Dilks insists he's showing law enforcement in a 'positive light' but has since pulled down the allegedly offensive videos
Dilks insists he's showing law enforcement in a 'positive light' but has since pulled down the allegedly offensive videos
The NAACP's Brown, meanwhile, said that the videos should be placed in the context of Indian River County's racial history.
The county, which boasts rich white folks on a barrier island and poor black people in-land on is still struggling with desegregation in schools, a process started in the early 1970s where students were bussed to schools that otherwise weren't in their neighborhoods in order to achieve a racial balance.
And just in 2017, the county's school district also refused to ban the use of Confederate flags on students' clothing and vehicles parked at the public schools.
'When you place the deputy's actions into the entire context of what's going on here, it's hurtful,' said Brown, who's been on the frontline of civil rights struggles. 'I'm not going to walk in the sheriff's office and ask that he be fired, but I'm going to tell them it's problematic and the ball will be in their court.'
Flowers, the sheriff's office spokesman, didn't respond to questions about Dilks' 16-year career as a law enforcement official.
There is some evidence in newspaper archives, however, that Dilks ran afoul with the brass yet kept his job.
Until last year, for example, Dilks was a detective who specialized in missing persons. 
In 2018, he was named lead investigator in the puzzling disappearance of Suzy Tommasi, the wife of a local high-profile restaurateur.
Tommasi was 73 and suffered from dementia when she vanished without a trace in August that year.
For months, Dilks worked the case under the assumption Tommasi started walking toward her home miles away from Vero Beach and got lost.
In October 2019, however, Dilks was gone from the case and back on road patrol as sheriff's officials called a press conference to say they'd found surveillance video that, enhanced, showed Tomassi in fact left the city in a white pickup truck.

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