Florida Police Officer Fired for Singing With Vital Remains Onstage
Last week (Nov. 13) a Sanford, Fla. police offer appeared onstage with death metal luminaries Vital Remains to introduce their song, "Dechristianize." Andrew Ricks was on duty and in uniform during the show and his participation with the band in the introduction to the song has resulted in his termination from the Sanford Police Department.
Ricks is seen with his back turned to the crowd, raising the horns along with the rest of the band as the classical introductory music plays over the PA. Building up, the music comes to an end and Ricks, along with Vital Remains vocalist Brian Werner and bassist Gator Collier, scream "Let the killing begin!" The lyric is the last line from the opening song on Dechristianize and precedes the title track. The line itself is in reference to Jesus Christ with the lyrics before it describing the crimes Jesus was charged with and sentenced to death for.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Ricks had tendered his resignation effective today (Nov. 20), but he was terminated on Wednesday by Police Chief Cecil B. Smith. Releasing a statement, Smith said, "An incident of this nature erodes the thin fibers of trust which already exist between the community and the police and it will not tolerated within the Sanford Police Department."
Adding to the statement, Smith reflected on the immediacy of Ricks' termination saying, "It is imperative that we have no misrepresentations of the immediate actions taken by the police department in situations of this nature and that we will continue to provide professional service to all citizens of Sanford."
Vital Remains will wrap up their month-long tour in their home state of Rhode Island at Firehouse 13 tonight.
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