UNM's TikTok cop disciplined, but not for 'Scanning for Mexicans' video - Albuquerque Journal

UNM’s TikTok cop disciplined, but not for ‘Scanning for Mexicans’ video

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)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The University of New Mexico police officer who came under fire last month for posting a TikTok video using “Scanning for Mexicans” audio from the cartoon “South Park” while an unidentified man was laying tile in a house was given a written warning for violating the department’s social media policy.

But it wasn’t for the video that had several students calling the social media post racist and asking for officer Eric Peer to be fired.

Instead, according to a disciplinary report released to the Journal via a public records request, Peer’s written warning was related to other videos on the account that showed him filming goofy, non-work-related videos while on the clock and without permission. Peer, a former Albuquerque Police Department officer, returned to work at UNM on Sept. 23 after about three weeks of paid leave while the matter was investigated.

The two-page disciplinary report has one paragraph redacted and it is unclear if the “Scanning for Mexicans” video is addressed there, but that paragraph is listed after the section that explains what policies Peer was found to have violated and for which videos.

In releasing the document to the Journal on Friday, UNM’s records custodian noted in a letter that “portions of the records constituting letters or memoranda that are matters of opinion in personnel files have been redacted.”

UNM spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair confirmed to the Journal that there was also an investigation by the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity, which referred the matter to UNMPD, the university’s human resources department and to the senior vice president for finance and administration.

The disciplinary report written by UNMPD Commander James Madrid concludes with, “I may also assign some additional training opportunities after discussion with our campus partners.”

UNM is not saying specifically what the OEO findings were, or why the “Scanning for Mexicans” video wasn’t referenced in the public part of the documents released on Friday. But when asked about the training reference in the memo, Blair confirmed Peer has completed an online course titled “Implicit Bias Training and Diversity: Inclusion in the Modern Workplace,” and he will also “receive additional in-person training from The Division of Equity and Inclusion and OEO.”

The “Scanning for Mexicans” video was brought to the attention of UNM’s administration by a student government leader when she saw it on the officer’s TikTok account. It was a video recording from inside an unspecified home, with the voice of Eric Cartman saying “Scanning for Mexicans” before zooming in on a man and exclaiming, “Ah, we’ve got a Mexican!”

UNM President Garnett Stokes posted on her Twitter account when she learned of the video that the university and its police department “stand against racism and social injustice.”

It is unclear who the man in the video is or whose home the video was filmed in.

The audio 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 has not commented publicly on the matter.

The violations that UNMPD internal investigation concluded Peer violated were from UNMPD policies 1-12-03 that essentially state employees shouldn’t identify themselves on social media as working for UNMPD and should not show pictures or videos of UNMPD uniforms or equipment without written permission.

In addition to the “Scanning for Mexicans” video on Peer’s now-deleted TikTok page were at least three other videos of him working. Those videos included one of a fellow officer putting out a small fire to the music of Bonnie Tyler’s 1986 song “Holding Out for a Hero,” one of various scenes of a UNMPD vehicle parked on the sidewalks around campus and an officer on a bicycle riding in and around various UNM buildings, and of a UNMPD officer on a scooter mimicking a scene from the 1994 Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels movie “Dumb and Dumber.”

Home » News » Albuquerque News » UNM’s TikTok cop disciplined, but not for ‘Scanning for Mexicans’ video

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