State Watch

South Carolina police officer suspended after video shows him saying the N-word

A police officer in Columbia, S.C., was suspended without pay on Sunday after video emerged of him using a racist slur multiple times outside of a crowded bar.

The City of Columbia Police Department said in a statement that Sgt. Chad Walker would remain suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding.

In a video that quickly went viral, Walker could be seen and heard Saturday outside of Bar None in the city’s Five Points neighborhood using the N-word multiple times after a Black man who is not seen on video yelled the word at the officer who was leaving the bar. Walker, who is white, appears to be arguing with patrons in the video, asserting that he can say the N-word because a Black patron had just referred to him by the term.

“People of color? The gentleman right there that called me a n—–?” Walker says in the video, addressing a separate bar patron or employee.

The city’s police chief apologized in the statement posted Sunday, explaining that he “shares the public’s outrage and frustration regarding the highly offensive and disrespectful incident.”

“After reviewing the video from last night in Five Points, it is evident the actions of Sgt. Walker were a clear failure to fulfill the expectations and standards of our Department. The repetition of the racial slur and failure to deescalate the situation were inexcusable,” said Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook.

“CPD sincerely apologizes for the inappropriate, disrespectful words, behavior and actions of Sgt. Walker,” the statement continued.

Walker’s suspension comes as the state has seen protests in Charleston over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., earlier this month, and other protests around the country for months over violence experienced by Black Americans during encounters with police.

Top officials in the Trump administration have responded to protests nationwide by calling for governors to assert order and denying claims that systemic racism exists in law enforcement.

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