TIMMONSVILLE, SC - Newly released police dash cam video of a traffic stop involving a South Carolina NAACP president has many folks upset, but not at the officer.
April 13, Timmonsville NAACP President Rev. Jerrod Moultrie described on Facebook how he had been racially profiled when a police officer pulled him over near his home.
Moultrie's post stated, "Tonight, I was racially profiled by Timmonsville Officer CAUSE I WAS DRIVING A MERCEDES BENZ AND GOING HOME IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD."
Moultrie recounted the conversation he had with the officer in his social media post. He wrote the officer asked him if there were any drugs inside his car. Moultrie also stated the officer told him, "I am doing you a favor tonight not taking you to jail or writing you a ticket."
Police countered his claim stating he was stopped for failing to use a turn signal and a problem with his license plate.
Florence community activist Timothy Waters said he was upset by Moultrie’s claims to the point he had to see it for himself. So, Waters went to the Timmonsville Police Department to take a look at a copy of the officer's dash and body cam video. But the video just made him even more upset
Waters said the body cam video appeared to completely counter what Moultrie posted on Facebook. He said the officer was very pleasant and kind to Moultrie during the entire four-minute traffic stop.
"Once I got a copy of that body cam, it's as if he made the whole story up. And I felt like he set us back 100 years because think about all of the racial profiling cases [that] are true," said Waters.
Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown said Moultrie contacted him the morning after the traffic stop with claims that Moultrie had been racially profiled and mistreated by the officer.
"He made a comment that the officer accused him of having drugs in the car. He said that his wife and grandchild was in the car. He asked them not to move because the officer looked as if he might shoot them or something. He also made mention that the officer continued to ask him about his neighborhood. Why was he in that neighborhood? And threaten[ed] to put him in jail in reference to something dealing with the registration to the vehicle," said Brown.
Brown said he investigated, reviewed the body cam video and determined there was nothing to Moultrie's claims.
"When I saw the video, I was shocked that someone who is supposed to be a community leader, a pastor, and head of the NAACP would just come out and tell a blatant lie. It bothered me. 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," Brown said. "There was a time where I was a victim as a police chief. I was a victim of racial profiling."
Moultrie denied any further comment in the matter, but
"We don't condone the wrong that a person has done, we just don't believe he would have told a lie about something of that magnitude. We're not saying a person is incapable of lying. Just from his character, we don't think he would have lied about something like that. In all fairness, to the NAACP and the community, we will watch the video and have a conversation with our NAACP President," Timmonsville NAACP Officer Henry James Dixon said.
"Based on Rev. Moultrie's character and, I wouldn't have served as his vice president if I felt that he was a liar. I just wouldn't do that. But I know he has worked very hard, very diligently, in bringing back together this branch of the NAACP. And we realize everything that the NAACP is about, and it's not about that," said Timmonsville NAACP Officer Kenneth McAllister.
Neither Dixon or McAllister said they saw the video as of Monday evening, but said Moultrie was a man of God and worked hard to re-establish the NAACP’s presence in Timmonsville.
"Based on the integrity of Rev. Moultrie, I really don't feel that he has a reason to lie about what he saw. Because he doesn't have any ill intent against anyone. I spent a lot of time with him and I just know his character," said Dixon.