Sanford, Fla. Police Chief Cecil B. Smith announced Wednesday morning that Officer Andrew Ricks has been fired from the department after video, seen above, emerged of the officer joining the death metal band Vital Remains on stage for a brief cameo at a November 13 concert at West End Trading Co.
In the clip, Officer Ricks can be seen on-stage with the band displaying the horns-up heavy metal hand gesture and delivering the opening line to the band’s song “Let the Killing Begin.”
Chief Smith said according to WFTV, “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.”
“He (the chief) wanted to make sure the citizens didn’t have an issue with what was being said,” commented Sanford police spokesperson Ronny Neal, noting that the department primarily took issue with the officer’s in-uniform singing of the band’s controversial lyrics.
LEX 18 notes that in July of this year, a Lexington, Ky. police officer’s spontaneous on-duty performance of the lyrically-tame Poison ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was met with praise by the Lexington Police Department, who shared video of the incident on social media to improve community relations.
Ricks told reporters that he did not want to comment on the matter.
Officer Ricks, who has no prior disciplinary record in his six years at the Sanford Police Department, was fired two days before he was scheduled to voluntarily resign. He had announced his plan to resign on October 30, prior to the incident. Officer Ricks was fired within 24 hours of Sanford police officials’ November 17 discovery of video of the concert cameo.
Vital Remains vocalist Brian Werner told the music news site Metal Injection, “This is exactly what’s wrong with the world today.“