Athens, TX – A Texas sheriff’s deputy whose rant video went viral has found himself relieved of duty (video below).
Former Henderson County Senior Sheriff’s Deputy Keon Mack said he had no idea that the rant he filmed in uniform in his patrol vehicle would go viral when he posted it to his Instagram account.
Mack, 30, said he made the video because he wanted to make the point to people that he’s the same person whether he’s working or not.
“I just wanted to let people know - you know, everybody that hates the police – especially the black community who looks at us like we’re siding with the oppressors. My whole point of the video was ‘look I’m a normal guy. Even though you guys swear you hate us, you still call us – even in the craziest situations. Don’t hate us – we’re here for you. I’m a normal guy and I’m here for you on a daily basis,” Mack explained to Blue Lives Matter in a telephone interview.
Mack, who has worked for the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office in both a detention and patrol capacity for almost six years, recorded his rant while he was in full uniform, sitting in his patrol vehicle, at the beginning of a long shift.
“I’m gonna go get this 12-hour shift man, but uh, real tough man – everybody wanna say ‘f--k the police,’ man. Say – f--k you!" the deputy’s rant began.
"Sh--t, every time Pookie Earl hit the g-----n wet stick and he come in the house trippin on a [unintelligible] you wanna call me… say f--k me, no f--k you man, sh-t. I ain’t got time to be fighting his naked a--,” Mack continued.
A “wet stick” was a 1980’s term for marijuana that has been soaked in liquid PCP, heroin, acid, or embalming fluid, according to the Urban Dictionary.
Although scientists have yet to link the use of “wet” drugs to violent behavior, officers have reported that suspects who have used those drugs often exhibit bizarre and unpredictable behavior during arrests, and seem to have super human strength.
PCP does work as an anesthetic and numbs pain, Time reported, which can make it more difficult to subdue an out-of-control suspect.
“Sh-t, hit his ass with the Taser – that sh-t don’t work. Try to square up with the motherf--ker – that shit don’t work. I’m like man, I’m gonna say ‘you got it, bro. You got it – I ain’t even gonna fight with you, man,’” the officer continued, sounding frustrated.
“Say man, it’s tough out here though man. I can’t do this sh-t forever – they’re gonna kill me out here man. Y’all like, comment, share my videos. Let me get viral so I can put my two week notice in,” the officer finished the video by asking viewers to make his video famous so he can leave his job before something happens to him.
Responses to the video were widely varied, with many in law enforcement saying that while it was funny, it was “conduct unbecoming” a law enforcement officer.
Unfortunately for Mack, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse agreed.
Former-Deputy Mack told Blue Lives Matter that he posted the video rant at the beginning of his shift, and went home and went to bed afterwards.
“I had just posted it to my friends that followed me. I didn’t know it would have four million views when I woke up. I was like holy moly!” he said. However, his initial post also tagged a number of viral video sites and famous people including WorldStar and Snoop Dog.
And then the sheriff’s department called.
“I woke up and my phone was blowing up, then shortly thereafter I get a phone call from the second in command at [the department] telling me some things had transpired, and ‘you better go ahead and bring your gear in,’” Mack chuckled as he recalled the conversation.
He said he knew he had taken a huge risk when he filmed the rant. He’d already been considering leaving the sheriff’s office, and had discussed giving his two weeks’ notice with his supervisor and the sheriff before he made the video.
Mack said nobody gave him an actual reason when they terminated him. But he wasn’t complaining and said it’s an at-will department and he knew he could be terminated at any time if the sheriff wanted to do so.
Sheriff Hillhouse told Blue Lives Matter that Mack’s video had violated a number of department policies.
He seemed disappointed in Mack’s judgement and said he didn’t see it coming.
“I think a lot of Deputy Mack and I always have. It caught me off guard,” Sheriff Hillhouse told Blue Lives Matter. “And you know that’s just not how I want our deputies representing me. So we had to address it.”
The sheriff said he didn’t have any grudges against the former deputy, and that he wouldn’t stand in his way should he apply to another police agency at some point in the future. He said he wouldn’t hire him back in Henderson County though.
“In this county, we work well together with our citizens. They take care of us. Just because you have one call with a bad response to a situation, that’s not the time to go off. We need to remember the folks we’re out here doing the job for every day. That’s who we’re working for,” Sheriff Hillhouse said.
He said he didn’t want the rant of a frustrated deputy to undo all of the positive progress that they’re making in the community.
“People were upset. That’s a direct reflection of me. And how they conduct their business in their personal and professional lives reflects on me. I try to remind them of that all the time,” the sheriff said.
“We chose this career and unfortunately, the citizens look at us differently. I think we are held to a higher standard. I just want to make sure the people that work for me are doing what they’re supposed to be doing in representing the sheriff’s office,” he said.
Sheriff Hillhouse said he felt the video was disrespectful to him as the sheriff, and to the community at large.
Mack, for his part, harbors no bad feelings toward the sheriff or anybody else at his former department, and said that he had never worked with a bad cop in Henderson County.
He said he’s gotten a lot of support from his former colleagues.
“I’ve had buddies want to buy me beers saying ‘dude, you were saying what we’ve all be thinking for years,’” Mack said.
He said he knew what he was doing when he made the video, and had accepted the consequences.
“It really was a very public last hurrah. I hate the state of the country when we’re so divided and it really all boils down to race. Even though I took it in a humorous context – I was sending a real message. ‘I do [police work] because I want to give back to you guys and I want you to know I’m a person just like you,’” Mack said.
He seemed sad when he talked about leaving the sheriff’s department.
“I loved my job. It’s definitely not about the money. I grew up around drugs. I grew up around gangs. I grew up in inner city Dallas. I grew up around things that could have landed me in jail. That’s why I went into law enforcement. I definitely loved it – I still love it to this day. But there’s an unspoken kind of code – they’re always tough, they always stay in line – a lot of them come off as robots. They can’t empathize with people and have no connection with people. I don’t want to be like that,” Mack said.
He said it’s very frustrating being a black cop in America today.
“My message was ‘Hey, I need you as much as you need me. I can’t do my job successfully and comfortably if I feel like no matter what I do or how I do my job, somebody’s going to say I’m doing it wrong. But no matter what you say about me or to me, if you call for help, I’m still going to come help you,’” Mack explained.
The former deputy said he was still processing the sudden change in employment status, and said he was considering doing security work until he figures out his next steps. He’s got a budding career as a comedian but doesn’t think that will pay the bills just yet.
In the video that got him fired, Mack joked about making it go viral so he could quit his day job. He got his wish, but it remains to be seen what comes next.
You can watch the video that got Mack terminated on his Instagram below: