NAACP president in SC says he was racially profiled; body cam video shows otherwise
TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. (WPDE) - Timmonsville NAACP President the Rev. Jerrod Moultrie posted on Facebook on April 13 that he was racially profiled when a Timmonsville police officer pulled him over for a traffic violation near his home on Harkless Court in Timmonsville.
Moultrie was stopped for failing to use a turn signal and a problem with his license plate, according to police.
Moultrie's post said, "Tonight, I was racially profiled by Timmonsville Officer CAUSE I WAS DRIVING A MERCEDES BENZ AND GOING HOME IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD."
Moultrie recounted his conversation with the officer in the post.
He said the officer asked him if there were any drugs inside his car.
Moultrie said in that post the officer told him, "I am doing you a favor tonight not taking you to jail or writing you a ticket."
Florence community activist Timothy Waters said when he saw Moultrie's Facebook post, it made him very upset that a black person could be racially profiled for driving a nice car in a nice neighborhood.
Waters said he went to the Timmonsville Police Department to take a look at a copy of the officer's dash and body cam video.
He added when he saw the video, he became even more upset, but not at the officer, rather at Moultrie.
Waters said the body cam video totally contradicts 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."
"There was a time where I was a victim as a police chief. I was a victim of racial profiling," added Brown.
Moultrie said he can't comment on the matter at this time, but referred WPDE to get statements from Timmonsville NAACP officers Kenneth McAllister and Henry James Dixon.
Dixon and McAllister hadn't seen the body cam video as of Monday afternoon.
"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," Dixon said.
McAllister and Dixon said Moultrie is a man of God who stands for what's right and he's worked very hard to re-establish the Timmonsville NAACP.
"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 McAllister.
"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.
McAllister and Dixon said Moultrie is a good leader who works tirelessly to make sure all people are treated equally.
Brown said even though his officer did nothing wrong, he wants to make sure all of his officers go through racial sensitivity training.