Three police officers in North Carolina have been fired after they were heard on camera making racist comments, including the use of racial epithets and references to “slaughtering” Black people, police said Wednesday.
Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams said Cpl. Jessie Moore and officers James Gilmore and Kevin Piner would be fired for misconduct after an internal investigation “uncovered extensive violations” of the department's policies, including its standard of conduct and use of appropriate language.
The department also released a document containing a detailed summary of the investigation.
“Why are we releasing this information this way and at this time? Because it is the right thing to do,” Williams said. “Normally, personnel laws allow only a very small amount of information to be made public. However, in exceptional cases, when it is essential to maintain public confidence in the administration of the City and the Police Department, more information may be released.
“This is the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career," he added. "We must establish new reforms for policing here at home and throughout this country."
The investigation started as a result of a supervisor’s routine inspection of a video from Piner’s in-car camera, Williams said.
About 46 minutes and 12 seconds into the video, Piner started speaking with Gilmore from their respective cars. During the conversation, Piner criticized the department, telling Gilmore the agency is concerned with “kneeling down with the Black folks.” Gilmore then said he watched a video on social media about white people bowing down on their knees and “worshipping Blacks,” according to the report released by the department.
About an hour and 14 minutes into the video, Piner received a call from Moore. Shortly into the conversation, Moore referred to a woman he arrested using a racial slur.
Later in the conversation, Piner told Moore he feels a civil war is coming and he is “ready,” according to the police report. He said he is going to buy a new assault rifle in the next couple of weeks and said society will be close to martial law, with the report misspelling it as “Marshall Law." He also discussed “slaughtering” people, using a racial slur. Moore responded that he would not do that, based on the report, to which Piner said, “I’m ready.”
When interviewed separately, each officer admitted to their voice on the video and did not deny saying any of the things that were heard, according to the police report. However, each officer also denied being racist, based on the report.
Williams said he is recommending that the officers will not be eligible for rehire in the city and will notify the North Carolina Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission of their behavior. The commission determines whether an officer can maintain their state certification.