Michael Dilks, an Indian River County Sheriff's deputy and his wife Heidi Dilks, a medical tech, have become Tik Tok stars with their videos racking up thousands of views, with one reaching 1.2 million views.
However, the two found themselves in trouble with the black community after dubbing words from black actors, lip-syncing vulgar words like the n-word and bi**h.
In one video, Dilks can be seen in his patrol car with his wife in the back.
She is seen lip-syncing the voice of a happy black man singing a line from James Brown's I Feel Good.
Dilks, wearing his uniform, turns around and lip-syncs the voice of another man saying: “Hey, why are you so happy back there while I'm taking you to jail?”
His wife lip-syncs her response: “I'm so happy boy. Where you're taking me, I've got 24 hours away from my wife.”
In another video, Dilks is out of uniform and seated in the back of Heidi’s car. She pretends to drive while lip-syncing City Girls' Act Up song “Real A** Bi**h Give A F**k About A Ni**a.”
In yet another video, Heidi can be seen lip-syncing a message left by an angry black woman: “This is for Rachel you big fat white nasty smelling fat bi**h. Why you took me off the motherf***ing schedule with your trifling dirty white racist a**?”
“This is straight out racist,” said Anthony J. Brown, a local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President, a retired corrections officer. “They even imitate a black man going to jail.”
He added: “It's conduct unbecoming a police officer, it's inappropriate, unprofessional, disrespectful, demeaning and just plain stupid. It pounces on every stereotype and portrays an entire group of people negatively. And coming from a law enforcement officer, it's even worse if you consider the context of police brutality against our people.”
The couple removed most of their controversial material, but Dilks maintained that their intention was not to hurt anyone.
He said: “I'm successful on Tik Tok because I've got a real connection with the viewers. My goal is to show cops are normal people who have some fun. It's all tasteful. Nothing crazy. And 95 percent of the posts are done off-duty.”
Adding: “The way Tik Tok works is that you lip-sync some of the drops that are available to users. Whatever song or movie line I'm using is made available to all users. I use a lot of drops from (The Upside star) Kevin Hart. If there are complaints, maybe they should be sent to Tik Tok. Yes, there is rough language. But everybody hears the same songs on the radio. Is it racist for a white kid to sing hip-hop songs with rough language?”
Brown maintained that the videos should be viewed in the context of Indian River County's racial history.
He said, “When you place the deputy's actions into the entire context of what's going on here, it's hurtful. I'm not going to walk in the sheriff's office and ask that he be fired, but I'm going to tell them it's problematic and the ball will be in their court.”