WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA – Three officers were fired from the Wilmington Police Department on Wednesday for making racist comments captured on one of their car cameras.
The Wilmington Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday, where they announced the layoff of former Cpl Jesse Moore II and officers James Gilmore and Kevin Piner. They were all accused of violating standards of conduct, criticism, and the use of inappropriate jokes and defamation.
“When I heard about these conversations, I was shocked, saddened, and upset,” said Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams, who decided to reveal the details of the layoff after consulting with Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham.
The video was found when a sergeant was auditing the videos as part of a monthly inspection. While auditing, she found footage of the Piner patrol, whose camera was accidentally activated. When they heard the comments made by Piner and Moore, the Police Department determined that the videos were “extremely racist.” In another recording, Piner and Gilmore spoke from their respective patrol cars and criticized the police department, claiming that their only concern was to “kneel with the blacks.”
Piner also received a call from Moore and both used various racist and homophobic slurs. At the end of the audio, Piner told Moore that a civil war was necessary to remove black people “off the map” and delay them by “4 or 5 generations.” Moore replied that he was crazy and shortly after the recording ends. The officers in question accepted that it was their voices that were captured on video and did not deny its content. The officers said they are not racist and said their comments were due to stress following protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
In addition to their dismissal, the cases of each of the officers involved will be reviewed by the district attorney’s office to determine that they have not committed crimes or discriminated against people because of their race. The police chief will recommend that they not be rehired.