CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - A Coral Springs Police sergeant has been suspended after he recorded two videos posted to TikTok while on duty making fun of Mexican immigrants.
Coral Springs Sgt. Gilbert Monzon’s clips have generated controversy not only because he recorded them while on the job but because of the nature of the videos.
The camera is seen roving an office space at the police department before it zeroes in on a sitting uniformed officer.
“We’ve got a Mexican!” a man’s voice, apparently pre-recorded audio, is heard saying.
7News confirmed the sergeant created two videos using the popular app. The videos have come under fire for a variety of reasons.
In one of the clips, a man’s voice, also believed to be a pre-recorded track, begins singing a version of the John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” but with altered lyrics.
“Donald Trump, send me home, back to where I belong,” the man sings.
It was a citizen who alerted city officials about the videos, writing to them that he didn’t think they were professional.
The office of professional standards looked into the matter and discovered the audio was a pre-recorded track. Monzon’s voice is never heard, but that didn’t make a difference to the police department.
When questioned about the videos, Monzon repeatedly told department officials that they were done for satirical purposes, not to be offensive, and to connect with the newer members of the force.
The sergeant also blamed his children for changing the account from private, and he argued he doesn’t know how to use TikTok.
His account had more than 1,600 followers, and the page followed hundreds of people.
According to the internal investigation, when asked if he believed that the videos would actually promote team building with his Hispanic co-workers when they could be construed as disparaging Mexicans, Monzon stated: “Yeah, that’s the joke, is that we’re constantly, often referred to as, ‘Oh, the Mexican officers, the Mexican officer.’ Me, taking that on satirically. Again, my approach with the rest of the guys, so that they can kind of understand, ‘Hey, you know, this is — we can accept this. We’re all human beings. We all understand.’ It’s just, again, team building.”
Coral Springs officers received training in August 2019. A section included social media. Monzon signed off on that training.
The sergeant has been suspended for this incident.
The uniformed officers who appear in the videos were interviewed and served as witnesses in the investigation.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.