WILMINGTON, N.C. (NBC) — Three police officers in Wilmington, North Carolina, were fired after their department discovered patrol-car video of conversations containing violent, racist comments about Black people, officials announced Wednesday.
The Wilmington Police Department took the action on Tuesday against Cpl. Jessie Moore, and Officers Kevin Piner and Brian Gilmore. Each was accused of violating standards of conduct, criticism and use of inappropriate language.
Police Chief Donny Williams said at a news conference Wednesday that “with the concurrence of our City Council and at the direction of City Manager Sterling Cheatham” he was releasing a summary of the investigation.
“When I first learned of these conversations, I was shocked, saddened and disgusted,” Williams said. “There is no place for this behavior in our agency or our city and it will not be tolerated.”
The recorded conversations of Gilmore, Piner and Moore were discovered June 4 during a routine audit of Piner’s in-car camera, according to documents released by the police department.
“The conversations included disrespectful language, hate-filled speech and referred to Black people as the N-word,” the police chief said, adding that the officers also criticized him, several Black officers within the agency and made negative comments about individuals outside of the agency.
Additionally, they made negative comments about the Black Lives Matter protests and were critical of the Wilmington Police Department’s response, he said.
A sergeant reviewing the footage from Piner’s car, which were categorized as coming from “accidental activation” of the video recorder, initially noted “extremely racist comments” in a conversation between Piner and Moore.
The remarks led the supervisor to make a closer examination of the video, which captured officers using the N-word and other racist language.
An internal investigation followed.