Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said last week that the city will continue to employ a deputy marshal who posted a controversial TikTok video that went viral. He said the matter is being handled internally.
It was as if the matter was done and dusted. That’s not good enough.
This is the second time in seven months that poor judgement on the part of police officers has been front and center there.
The first was a now former Bellevue marshal who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession in March. An investigation found that he left marijuana candies in the refrigerator at the marshal’s office.
The second was two weeks ago when a deputy marshal posted the TikTok video. It showed him in uniform espousing his opinion of a basketball star’s deleted tweet regarding the police shooting of a black teenage girl who may have been armed with a knife in Columbus, Ohio.
It wasn’t the only video the deputy marshal had posted while in uniform. A small library of videos with him center stage exist on TikTok. Some contain questionable content and profanity.
The mayor’s silence on the matter leaves the public to wonder who really speaks for Bellevue.
The videos are still posted for the world to see. They are an embarrassment to the city, state and law enforcement. They erode public trust in what should be the most trusted public servants in any community.
This is not the kind of publicity the city should tolerate from any employee, especially those who present themselves as speaking in an official capacity.
The mayor should explain why the deputy marshal is still employed and why the city still has confidence in him. He should explain why citizens should have no reservations about interactions with him or other deputies.
He should explain why the city wouldn’t be better off to dissolve the Marshal’s Office and contract with the Blaine County sheriff for law enforcement services.
The mayor must speak up and not leave matters solely to the local rumor mill.
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