Three members of a North Carolina police department were fired after a department’s audit of a video recording captured one of the officers saying that a civil war was needed to wipe black people off the map and that he was ready.
The Wilmington Police Department took action Wednesday against Cpl Jessie Moore and officers Kevin Piner and Brian Gilmore. Each was charged with violating standards of conduct, criticism, and the use of inappropriate jokes and defamation. After consulting with the city council, Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham authorized Police Chief Donny Williams to reveal the details.
“When I heard about these conversations, I was shocked, saddened, and disgusted,” Williams said at a press conference on Wednesday. “There is no place for this behavior in our agency or in our city and it will not be tolerated.”
According to documents released by the police department, a sergeant was conducting a video audit as part of a monthly inspection and was reviewing images of Piner’s car that had been classified as “accidental triggering.” After the sergeant overheard the conversation and determined that the comments made by Piner and Moore were “extremely racist,” he contacted the department administrator for the camera system.
At 46 minutes into the video, Piner and Gilmore began speaking from their respective cars, at which point Piner criticized the department, saying their only concern was “kneel with the blacks.” About 30 minutes later, Piner received a phone call from Moore, according to the investigation, a segment in which Moore referred to a black woman as “black.” She also referred to the woman using a racial slur. He repeated the use of the insult to describe a black magistrate, and Moore also used a gay insult to describe the magistrate.
Later, according to the investigation, Piner told Moore that he feels a civil war is coming and that he is ready. Piner said he was going to buy a new assault rifle, and soon “we’re going to go out there and start killing them (expletives)” Blacks. “I can not wait. God, I can’t wait.
Moore replied that he would not do that.
Piner then told Moore that he felt a civil war was needed to “wipe them off the map (expletive).” That will delay them four or five generations. Moore told Piner that he was “crazy,” and the recording stopped shortly after.
According to the police, the officers admitted that they were their voices in the video and did not deny any of the content. While officials denied they were racist, they blamed their comments on stress in law enforcement in light of protests over the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, died last month after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
In addition to being fired, cases involving Wilmington officers will be reviewed by the district attorney’s office to determine if they committed any crimes or showed bias towards the criminal defendants. Williams said she will recommend that the three officers not be rehired by notifying the North Carolina Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission of their behavior.