Two police officers in Crewe, Virginia, are facing possible termination after allegedly posting “inappropriate” comedy videos on TikTok that appeared to poke fun at racism.
Police officers Caleb Lafferty and Rondell White are facing the possibility of losing their jobs after the town’s new police chief said the videos violated the department’s social media policy, local news outlet WRIC reported.
The videos depict Lafferty, who is a white officer, and White, who is a Black officer, in a racially-focused encounter. In the videos, Lafferty is seen wearing a mask that resembles those worn by the Ku Klux Klan, while White points a gun at him, according to a report by Inside Edition.
Lafferty then pulls off the mask and yells at White for pointing his gun, and states that he was wearing the facial covering because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two are then seen arguing over the use of the face covering.
The two police officers said the videos were meant to address racism through the use of “dark humor.” Though the videos were deleted several months ago at the request of a former police chief, the officers are now facing the threat of termination under the department’s new leadership, WRIC reported.
“The way things are happening right now with, I guess, racism and everything, we’re trying to show people that, you know, different cultures can come together, we can have fun, we can have, you know, a little dark humor,” White said during a Crewe Town Council meeting on Monday.
Both officers are currently on paid administrative leave while the town council conducts a series of hearings to determine whether or not the videos were grounds for termination.
During a hearing on Monday, the town council said the officers would be allowed to find an attorney before the next meeting would be held, WRIC reported.
Over a dozen people showed up Monday at the Crewe Police Department to support Lafferty and White, arguing that the videos shouldn’t be cause enough to fire them.
“I hate to see us lose two police officers who care so much about this community over something as foolish as making comedy videos,” Crewe resident Alex Trim told WRIC.
At the hearing, Lafferty could be heard saying that “the termination is a little excessive.”
If both Lafferty and White are terminated, the Crewe Police Department would be left with just two officers in total.
Newsweek contacted the Crewe Police Department for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.