A police officer in South Carolina came under scrutiny after the president of a local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] chapter was pulled over and claimed he was treated in an unfair and discriminatory manner because he’s black. What he said the officer said to him was disturbing.
According to SCNow, Timmonsville NAACP president and pastor Jerrod Moultrie wrote a Facebook post with a detailed transcript of what he said was the conversation between him and the officer. In his account, he claimed the officer immediately asked him if there were drugs in the car, accused him of stealing the Mercedes Benz he was driving, and strongly implied that it was suspicious that he was driving in such a nice neighborhood at night.
Moultrie said the officer also mocked him when he said he was a local pastor and told him he could not drive his car home because the license plates didn’t match the vehicle. Moultrie had recently purchased the car and was pulled over for not using his turn signal.
But after the NAACP president’s now-removed Facebook post caught a lot of attention, police released the bodycam footage captured by the officer involved. It told a very different story than Moultrie’s account.
In the footage, the cordial officer never asks Moultrie about drugs, accuses him stealing the car or being in the wrong neighborhood, or mocks him for being a pastor. In fact, he refrains from ticketing Moultrie for having improper license plates or for failing to use his turn signal. He let the NAACP president drive his car home and wished him a safe trip.
According to Slate-owned black pop culture magazine The Root, Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown called Moultrie’s account a “blatant lie” and said, “It really bothered me, thinking about the racial unrest it could’ve cost in the community, and it’s just troubling to me that someone who held a position like that would come out and just tell a lie.”
“There was a time where I was a victim as a police chief,” he added. “I was a victim of racial profiling.”
Suspicion of the police amidst black community members is high after reports of police brutality against African-Americans have become widely publicized. In some cases, full video footage showed uncooperativeness and brutality being shown toward the accused officers.
The concept of widespread, systematic police brutality in America has been pushed heavily by black leaders like Revs. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. The percentage of black people with a great deal of confidence in the police has now dropped from 37 percent from June 2011-June 2014 to 30 percent from 2015-2017, according to two Gallup polls.