Officer Robert Sisco of New Paltz, New York sat in his patrol car last week, logged onto Facebook and broadcast a video of himself performing a heavily politicized free- style rap, laden with transphobic abuse and pro-Trump, conservative propaganda, including encouraging violence against 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Sisco’s performance comes as virtual Pride Month events are in full swing due to the necessity of accommodating the new normal imposed by coronavirus.
“Hey, hi, hello, this is officer Bob / Last name Sisco, first name Rob
I’m a man of many talents so many talents in fact / I know you’re thinking that I’m black so of course I can rap
Well that’s partially true and the truth does hurt / No I’m not Will Smith so fuck I’m gonna curse
Spit facts over feelings because you’re feelings are irrelevant / There’s only two genders and Trump’s still your president
Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina / This whole coronavirus was sent here from China
Hillary is Killary we all know the reason / Where those emails at? We should hang her for treason
I try to keep calm cause it’s good for my health / But we all know Epstein didn’t kill himself
Just because I’m a cop it doesn’t mean that I’m bad / Every day I go to work and I put on a badge
But I’d rather use my words than resorting to violence / Cause I’d rather talk to y’all than a blue wall of silence
I grew up in the hood, I’m a Newburgh G / I might be 5-O, I’m still the same old me
And we all bleed red, whether white, black or brown / But we need to get together and shut this shit down
Stop lootin’, stop shootin’, stop fires and threats / It only takes two people I’m first so who’s next?”
After punching down on transgender people and expressing his desire to hang someone he doesn’t align with politically, he sings about not being “Bad” and lauding himself for putting on a badge for work every day. The irony.
In the New Paltz region, there are many LGBTQ+ residents and the video posted by Officer Sisco was a frightening reminder about the narrow, conservative world views held by many of those in authority- or on duty- who threaten the health and safety of transgender women when they are most vulnerable and in need of assistance.
New Paltz city councilman Dan Torres brought the video to the attention of Town supervisor, Neil Bettez on June 18th. Speaking to local news outlet The Daily Freeman, Bettez said; “People can do stupid things if they want, but not on my time in a town car. That’s why he’s in trouble.”
Indeed, Officer Sisco was placed on administrative leave while the town conducts an investigation. While within his rights to express his prejudices, it is not fair, nor is it safe to put transgender people at his mercy, beneath the weight of his badge when he has proudly expressed such a personal and discriminatory opinion of them as people.
After his suspension, the city council released an apologetic statement on their official Facebook page that served to reinforce their solidarity with LGBTQ+ residents.
This comes as the United states finds itself on the precipice of conflict between minority communities and the police as protests have erupted across the country against police brutality and the murder of countless unarmed men and women of color.
It should be noted that within the transgender community, black trans women are disproportionately affected by homicide and physical violence. This past week alone, two black transgender women, Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, were murdered. Their deaths add to the already 14 transgender or gender non-conforming women to be murdered this year, highlighting the ongoing plight of black transgender women in America.