At one point, according to the report, Officer Piner said he was “ready” for a civil war and spoke of “killing” blacks, referring to them using the n-word.
“I can’t wait,” he said. God, I can’t wait.
Each officer was a veteran of the department and had been hired in the late 1990s, according to employment records released by the city.
The firing of officers in Wilmington, a coastal city about 80 miles north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, comes amid a nationwide race and police trial following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
“This is the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career,” Williams said. “We must establish new surveillance reforms here at home and across the country.”
Williams said he has recommended that none of the three officers be eligible to rehire in Wilmington. He said he would notify the North Carolina Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Training to determine if officers can maintain certification to practice law enforcement in the state.
The department will also consult with the district attorney’s office on this case to determine if officers committed crimes, Williams said in internal investigative documents, and will review the cases officers had accused of to see if there was any bias toward criminals. .
Additionally, the police department is asking the courts to decide whether part or all of the video should be released.
CNN has contacted the union representing the police department for comment. Attempts to reach each officer were unsuccessful.
‘Put them back around four or five generations’
The video was discovered June 4 during a monthly video review, according to the internal investigation report. The footage, captured by Piner’s dashboard camera in the vehicle, was classified as an “accidental trigger,” the report says.
About 46 minutes after the nearly 2-hour video, Piner is heard talking to Gilmore, who has stopped his vehicle alongside Piner’s.
The two officers discuss the recent Black Lives Matter protests, and Piner says the department’s only concern is “kneeling with the blacks.” Gilmore also describes a video he saw of whites “bowing to their knees and” worshiping blacks, “” the report says.
“How many times have I told you that it’s almost as if they think they are their own god?” Gilmore said, according to the report.
The two officers criticized the police department’s response to the Wilmington protests and made derogatory comments about some of their fellow officers.
Later, Piner is heard answering a phone call from Moore, who told Piner about a woman he arrested the day before, referring to her with the n word, the report says.
At one point, Moore said, “I needed a bullet in the head right now and move on. Let’s move the body away and move on.”
Piner later said he believed a civil war was brewing, adding that he was going to buy a new assault rifle. He felt that martial law would be declared and said, “We’ll just go out there and start fucking killing them (n-words). I can’t wait,” according to the report.
Moore said he would not do that, but Piner said he felt a civil war was necessary to “wipe them off the map.”
“That will delay them about four or five generations,” Piner said. Moore replied “you’re crazy,” says the report.
According to the internal investigation report, Moore and Piner also attacked the department’s response to the Wilmington protests. At one point, Moore said the police chief “dropped the shit ball” and that there were “too many times that all he cares about is the shit community.”
Behavior “will not be tolerated”
Each officer was interviewed separately about the comments on June 9, as part of the professional standards investigation. Officials denied they were racist, but did not deny making the statements heard on the video, according to the report.
Moore said he was out of service and on his personal phone at the time of his conversation with Piner. He said he was just “venting” about his arrest and that the recent protests had caused him a lot of stress, according to the report. He told investigators he was embarrassed by the comments and that he does not normally speak that way.
Piner also said his comments were not characteristic of who he was and that he found them embarrassing, according to the report. The recent protests had caused him a lot of stress, he said, and made him fear himself and his family. He pointed investigators to a video he saw on social media that he said showed a black man calling people to search for officers’ houses and killing their families. Piner also said she had approached the Employee Assistance Program because she felt she was at a breaking point, according to the report.
Gilmore said during the interview that he was speaking about videos he had seen on social media, and that “he always treats everyone fairly, regardless of race,” the documents show.
The internal investigation found that officers violated the department’s standard of conduct, according to the report, and were fired.
Moore and Piner were also found to have violated policies that prohibited criticizing the police department and using inappropriate insults.
“There are certain behaviors that one must have to be a police officer and these three officers have shown that they do not possess it,” Chief Williams said in a statement. “When I heard about these conversations, I was shocked, saddened, and upset. There is no place for this behavior in our agency and in our city and it will not be tolerated.”