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Officer Steve Bergren investigated for seemingly sexual and racist Facebook photos

10:21 PM, Sep 21, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Officer investigated for seemingly sexual, racist Facebook pics

Tarpon Springs, Florida --The Tarpon Springs Police Department is investigating one of its own because of pictures posted on his Facebook Page.

One picture appears to have sexual overtones, and some say the other is racist.

The 10 News Investigators brought the photos to the attention of Tarpon Springs Police Chief Robert Kochen, who initially said he didn't see anything wrong with the photos. He added that we were making a big deal out of it.  

Photo Gallery: Pictures on Officer Steve Bergren's Facebook page

After explaining our plan to conduct an experiment to see if the citizens of Tarpon Springs felt the same way, we received an email saying the department would conduct an investigation just 15 minutes later.

We went through with our experiment, and it was clear that the people we talked to didn't think it was being blown out of proportion. 

Karen Brunette saw the photos and said, "That's awful and very inappropriate." 

Themelima Macris was almost speechless telling us, "Wow, I don't know what to say."

Fay Henigin had a similar reaction saying, "Oh my goodness; you have got to be kidding me."

Their responses are to an image that we had to blur out on air- that of what appears to be a sex toy coming out of the crotch of Officer Stephen Bergren and being inserted into the mouth of his dog.

Charles Henigin looked at the picture and asked "That's a police officer?" When we told him it was, he said, "I think you better start looking for some new police officers."

But as they say in the infomercials, "Wait there's more!"

Bergren also posted on his Facebook a picture from 1963 that depicts a K-9 officer in Birmingham with his dog as it attacks a defenseless 15-year-old. 

At the time president Kennedy said the picture made him sick, and Tarpon Springs residents today felt the same way.

Ed Porter, an older African American gentleman who remembers those racially charged days says, "I didn't like that, and I don't care for the picture being there."

"It just made my stomach turn," Themelima Macris told us."Wow that's disturbing, very disturbing- Wow."

K-9 officer Steve Bergren told us he saw nothing inappropriate about the images he posted, and the Tarpon Springs Police Chief, Robert Kochen, backed him up. 

Kochen added that anyone who sees the toy in the dog's mouth as anything other than a chew toy, must have a dirty mind. 

However Henigin says," Based on the position and the graphics, it suggests something other than a play toy."

Brunette laughed when we told her what the Chief said and told us she believes most people would see what we saw.

And while the Tarpon Springs Police Department has posted other K-9 pictures on its own web page, there is nothing like the ones Bergren posted. 

Fay Henigin asks,"Why would he?" She adds "He's a police officer, what a shame."

No one from the Tarpon Springs Police Department would talk to us on camera because of the investigation.  

We reached out to Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie, who is African American, but he was on the East Coast for a conference. He did say that he is aware of the investigation, but has not yet seen the pictures and will not be able to comment until the investigation is over. 


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