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Chief didn't want public to 'fear' death metal cop

Boss of Sanford force says sacked officer's actions were inappropriate in wake of Paris attacks

The chief of a Florida police force which sacked a cop after he sang with a death metal band while on duty says he didn't want the public "to be in fear of" the officer.

Officer Andrew Ricks of the City Of Sanford Police Department joined Vital Remains onstage at West End Trading Co venue in Sanford and helped introduce their track Let The Killing Begin. A video was sent to Chief Cecil B Smith who reacted by bringing the officer's impending resignation forward.

Now Smith says that Ricks' stunt was the latest in a string of incidents which cumulatively resulted in his sacking. But he adds that Ricks' actions were inappropriate, especially in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

He tells The Daily Beast: “'Let the killing begin' is not an appropriate response to anything, considering the tensions between law enforcement and the communities, and considering the circumstances of things that have taken place in Paris and around our country. The last thing I want to do is have anyone be in fear of one of our police officers.

“For folks to believe that he was terminated because of the circumstances isn’t true. What would have probably happened if Officer Ricks had remained on the job, is that we would have completed the internal investigation, for which he would have most likely received some form of discipline.”

Smith adds that he has nothing against the death metal genre. He says: “There is absolutely no concern with us with anyone listening to heavy metal. That’s your prerogative and your choice of music that you want to listen to.”

Sanford is the town where unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by Neighbourhood Watch man George Zimmerman in 2012. Zimmerman only faced trial after a public outcry, but was eventually acquitted by the court.

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