Three veteran Wilmington police officers have been fired after a supervisor came across dash cam footage of them accidentally recording themselves making racist, derogatory and threatening comments against Blacks in two phone conversations.
One of the officers was heard talking about his desire to slaughter “them f*cking ni****s” and society needing a civil war to wipe them “off the f*ucking map”.
According to Port City Daily, Chief of Police Donny Williams announced the officers in question – Michael ‘Kevin’ Piner, James ‘Brian’ Gilmore, and Jessie E. Moore II – had been terminated from the police force. This was during a press conference with members of the City Council on Wednesday.
The supervisor, Sergeant Heflin, came across the first recording while conducting routine monthly audits some days after protests in relation to the death of George Floyd began in Wilmington on June 4. During the audit, she found footage labeled as ‘accidental activations’ from Piner’s car, meaning the car’s camera system was “activated” and recording even though there wasn’t an incident.
While browsing through the video, Heflin came across a conversation between Piner and Moore. Per the police summary, Heflin, after reviewing their conversation, said she “heard comments, extremely racist comments made by both Piner and Moore.” There was also another recorded conversation with Gilmore – which was also labeled racist and explicit – when he parked next to Piner’s car.
On another unconfirmed date, Piner and Gilmore were recorded having a conversation, Port City Daily reports.
“Their conversation eventually turned to the topic of the protests against racism occurring across the nation. Piner tells Gilmore that the only thing this agency is concerned with is “kneeling down with the black folks.” Gilmore then said that he watched a video on social media about white people bowing down on their knees and “worshipping blacks,” the summary said.
The two also spoke about Black officers in the Wilmington Police Department and Piner was heard referring to one of his colleagues as “bad news” and a “piece of shit.”
“Let’s see how his boys take care of him when shit gets rough, see if they don’t put a bullet in his head,” Piner was heard saying about an officer.
In the second recorded conversation of the day which was a phone call from Moore to Piner, the summary said: “Moore began telling Piner about an arrest he had made at work the day before. During that conversation, Moore refers to the female as a ‘negro’ and a ‘ni—-‘ on multiple occasions,” adding that he also called a Black magistrate judge a “fucking negro magistrate.”
Later in the conversation, the two started talking about a pending “civil war,” Port City Daily further reports.
Per the summary: “Piner tells Moore later in the conversation that he feels a civil war is coming and he is ‘ready.’ Piner advised he is going to buy a new assault rifle in the next couple of weeks. A short time later Officer Piner began to discuss society being close to ‘martial law’ and soon ‘we are just gonna go out and start slaughtering them fucking ni—–. I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait.’ Moore responded that he would not do that. Piner stated, ‘I am ready.’”
“Officer Piner then explained to Cpl. Moore that he felt society needed a civil war to “wipe ’em off the fucking map. That’ll put ’em back about four or five generations.’”
All officers admitted it was their voices in the recorded conversations, but they blamed their racist remarks on “stress.”
“Each officer admitted it was their voice on the video. They did not deny saying any of the things heard on the video. Each officer pointed to the stress of today’s climate in law enforcement as a reason for their ‘venting,’” a report of the investigation said.
Reacting to the incident at Wednesday’s press conference, Williams justified releasing details of their investigation to the public albeit North Carolina laws usually prohibit government agencies from releasing details of its employees unless in “extraordinary circumstances,” according to Port City Daily. An attempt by the fired officers to prevent its release was unsuccessful.
“Why are we releasing this information this way and at this time? Because it is the right thing to do. 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. We must establish new reforms for policing here at home and throughout this country,” Williams said.
About releasing the actual footage, Williams said: “We will be filing a petition in which we will ask the Court to review whether or not some or all of the video, in this case, should be released. The law requires that a judge make that determination and we will support the judiciary by bringing the matter before the Court and supplying any information or other documents that Court may desire.”