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UNM policeman back at work

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A video posted by a University of New Mexico police officer features a man laying tile with a “South Park” voice-over saying “scanning for Mexicans.” (Screenshot From TikTok Video)

The University of New Mexico police officer placed on leave earlier this month after posting a TikTok video with “scanning for Mexicans” audio from an episode of “South Park” over images of a man laying tile, has returned to work.

The video posted in March on the since-deleted TikTok account of UNMPD officer Eric Peer was brought to the attention of the public, and of UNM President Garnett Stokes, after an Associated Students of the University of New Mexico student senator recorded the video and posted it herself on social media, leading to questions about the appropriateness of a UNMPD officer creating and sharing such videos, not to mention his posting other videos of himself and colleagues while they were on the clock.

Peer was placed on paid administrative leave on Sept. 4 – the same day Stokes posted on Twitter she was aware of the video and that UNM and the campus police department “stand against racism and social injustice. Respect and diversity are part of our culture, values and who we are as Lobos.”

It is unclear what, if any, discipline Peer received other than having been on paid leave while the matter was investigated.

“The investigation has been concluded and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken. The officer remains employed with UNMPD,” UNM spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair told the Journal in an email Thursday.

The Journal has a public records request filed for more information on Peer’s discipline. The Journal also asked a UNMPD spokesman for comment and sought comment from Peer, through UNMPD, but had not received a response on Thursday evening. Peer has worked for UNMPD for four years and was an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department prior to that.

The video, filmed inside an unspecified home, was posted March 29.

The voice of Eric Cartman, a character in the animated Comedy Central show “South Park,” can be heard saying in a robotic manner “scanning for Mexicans” as the video camera moves through the house. When it zooms in on a man on the floor laying the tile, Cartman’s voice can be heard saying, “Ah, we’ve got a Mexican!”

The audio on the video is from Season 15, Episode 9 of “South Park,” titled “The Last of the Meheecans,” in which Cartman becomes a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Peer’s TikTok account had more than 11,000 followers and mostly included videos of his dog, but also several scenes of him and colleagues working around campus, sometimes to the soundtrack of songs or movies from the 1980s and 1990s.

UNM’s social media policy posted online states such warnings as:

• “You are personally responsible for what you post on blogs and microblogs, social networks, forums, and other social media. Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you.”

• “If you are unsure about a work-related posting, seek approval from your supervisor or manager before posting it.”

• “Refrain from publishing content that contains slurs, personal insults or attacks, and/or profanity or obscenity. Do not engage in any conduct on a social media site that would not be acceptable in The University of New Mexico workplace.”

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