North Carolina Cops Fired After Their In-Car Camera Catches Them Talking About Wiping Black People 'Off The (Expletive) Map'

from the sounds-like-a-very-north-carolina-discussion dept

Sometimes cop cameras do what they’re supposed to. In most cases, camera footage captured by cops is used by prosecutors to build cases. But every so often, they provide the accountability we were promised when cameras began rolling out.

In-car footage of officers engaging in a bigoted discussion of current protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd has resulted in some of that accountability we’ve heard so much about. Three Wilmington (NC) police officers have been fired for comments they made while sitting in their squad cars.

This wasn’t the result of a citizen’s complaint. Rather this horrific “discussion” was seen by a supervisor during a routine audit of recordings.

According to documents released by the police department, a sergeant was conducting a video audit as part of a monthly inspection and was reviewing footage from Piner’s car that had been classified as “accidental activation.” After the sergeant listened to the conversation and determined comments made by Piner and Moore were “extremely racist,” she contacted the department administrator for the camera system.

We can guarantee this was an “accidental activation.” No cop would have knowingly taped a conversation where officers discussed the current unrest using racist language or expressed a desire to engage in a war against black people to set them back decades in the fight for equality. No one would have believed this conversation ever took place if it wasn’t for the recording the officers didn’t know they were creating.

In addition to referring to a black female and a black magistrate judge as “niggers,” an officer also used a gay slur and expressed a desire to “go out and start slaughtering them (expletive) Blacks.”

The was Officer Kevin Piner. Officer Birian Gilmore was the one delivering the gay slur. Another officer, Corporal Jessie Moore, was part of a phone conversation with Officer Piner, in which Piner went even further.

Piner then told Moore that he felt a civil war was needed to “wipe them off the (expletive) map. That’ll put them back about four or five generations.” Moore told Piner he was “crazy,” and the recording stopped a short time later.

The officers did not deny that those were their voices or that they had made these comments. They had an excuse though. You know how it is when life gets tough and you just start adopting random disturbing beliefs because the pressure is getting to you.

While the officers denied that they were racists, they blamed their comments on the stress on law enforcement in light of the protests over the death of George Floyd.

Look, I can only speak for myself but I have never had this experience. I’ve undergone a tremendous amount of stress at various points in my life and not once did I decide that the earth was flat, or that enemas curb masturbation, or that an entire race needs to be “slaughtered” and “wiped off the map.” Maybe the stress is different in Cop Land. I don’t know. But this seems like the weakest excuse for expressing things you fervently believe — one summoned in a panic after realizing your racist diatribe has been recorded.

Not only are the officers being fired, but cases they’ve been involved in are now being reviewed for criminal activity (committed by these officers) or biased behavior. I’m sure investigators will find something, but it might be difficult to separate these officers’ own bigotry from the systemic racism of police culture. Still, I wish investigators the best of luck.

Thank god for inadvertent activations. Without them, these officers would have continued to be racists with guns and a whole lot of power — able to inflict misery on people they hate until easing into a fully-funded retirement. But for now — pending the inevitable lawsuit/arbitration — they’re just a few bigoted citizens whose irrational hatred was exposed by their own technical incompetence.

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Comments on “North Carolina Cops Fired After Their In-Car Camera Catches Them Talking About Wiping Black People 'Off The (Expletive) Map'”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s a slippery slope. Get them to act professionally and treat everyone as human during their shifts, next thing you know they’ll be doing crazy things like reading the laws they’re meant to uphold and useing deescalation tactics to avoid shooting unarmed people.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, hopefully. Then maybe they’ll not get themselves so angry and indoctrinate new officers into their mindset during work hours, which might then lead to less abuse of power.

Not guaranteed of course, but since the rest of us have to keep our opinions and free expression leashed while we’re working, especially where it’s in direct contradiction to your role, it’s about time cops did.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

If you're going to be a racist loser at least be an honest one

I do so love the fact that after using racial slurs and positing the idea that blacks should be killed they still tried to pull the ‘But I’m not a racist’ card, exposing that in addition to their rampant bigotry, violent/homicidal mindset and ludicrously poor ‘response to stress'(suuure it was…) they are also blatant cowards, unwilling to own their bigotry even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Kudos to their former supervisors for giving them the boot, now the question is whether they’ve made themselves so toxic that even their union won’t touch the case, or if this’ll be yet another case of a police union crying fouls with the rallying cry of ‘you can’t fire them, they had badges!’

David says:

Re: If you're going to be a racist loser at least be an honest o

Well, hear some gamers talk and then let them try to pull the "I am not a killer" card.

Not the same thing, but I sure would like some surefire criterion to tell when it is. Maybe you need to keep your stress games out of the social circles that could amplify their connection to reality.

A variation of "don’t fuck the company". Keep it professional.

I mean, "I am not racist" is crap anyway. Racism is a natural mechanism routed in our tribal nature. The question is not whether you are racist. The question is whether you let your behavior and interactions be governed by racism and other primal urges. Or whether you are capable of living as a member of civilization.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you're going to be a racist loser at least be an hone

There is a difference. I can be discriminating (I like chocolate ice cream more than I like vanilla, but butter pecan is my favorite) but not be racist (I don’t dislike anyone because of any of of the usual metrics i.e. race, religion, national origin, skin color etc.) but can dislike people because of their behavior (I am talking about individuals here not groups). I can be angry about groups (the police across the nation have raised my ire on numerous occasions, but I don’t think all police are bad (though it is hard from here to tell one from the other).

While there is a ‘natural’ my clan vs your clan, it doesn’t necessarily relate to race. So I disagree, it is possible to be not racist, but I might still dislike someone of some race or another due to their individual behavior, just so long as one doesn’t use those racial characteristics and apply them to all others of that race, unless they individually exhibit bad behavior as well.

One of the big problems is that what racism exists is reversible. There are some who would claim that it is not possible to be white and not be racist. There are others who would claim that if your not Islamic your an abomination and should die. There are others who would claim that if your Mexican your a rapist. There are a lot more examples. They are all wrong.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: If you're going to be a racist loser at least be an

Flame wars in the Internet escalate easily. It’s much harder to have a similar situation escalate in a similar manner when meeting someone in real life because you can read them in real time.

But reading people from a different background and significantly different facial features and expressions than what you are used to is much harder, as is empathising with them. Like with associates in the Internet, there just is a lot of a common basis for understanding missing.

Couples from different cultural or religious background in a similar vein suffer from a lack of natural mechanisms aligning their emotional responses.

You don’t get warm easily with people who are on a different page, and which you cannot read easily. And that means that for your interactions, you need to rely more on decency and decorum rather than basic empathy.

Tolerance is not a natural state. It’s something you have to keep working on. Generation for generation.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: If you're going to be a racist loser at least be an hone

"Well, hear some gamers talk and then let them try to pull the "I am not a killer" card."

I think that’s an "apples versus strange matter" discussion. I don’t see any viable comparison between civilian independent individuals shit-talking online and public servants paid and trained by tax money to, as core responsibility, uphold the law without fear or favor.

Sure, racism exists. But how come so very many other nations manage to maintain a standard of professionalism in their law enforcement which the US appears to consistently fail to even reach?

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Pixelation says:

These cops need some serious therapy. Jail time seems appropriate as well.

“We are just going to go out and start slaughtering them,”
“I can’t wait. God, I can’t wait,”

Sounds like a credible threat to me. What a fucking lunatic. They should never be allowed to possess firearms ever again.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Unholy words of power

In addition to referring to a black female and a black magistrate judge as "niggers," an officer also used a gay slur and expressed a desire to "go out and start slaughtering them (expletive) Blacks."

At the point that the n-word slur was spelled out, I’m afraid to know what dark shadowy beast from the netherworlds was summoned by the omitted expletive, and if it is still at large.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Unholy words of power

I asked my local cult rep about it and he called back saying "Sorry, but The Dark Beneath The Wormy Earth refused to repeat the mentioned word as ‘too obscene for it’s standards’."

Apparently it did suggest that if we heard a gurgling call of "Covfefe, covfefe" in the vicinity it’d be time to bunker down with cold iron and an effigy of Bernie Sanders barring the door.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Union intervention

That would be actually brilliant, since doing so would show what the union believes is acceptable police conduct and acceptable police attitude.

Any publishable evidence that the unions are a white supremacist front that has captured law enforcement is going to only serve the effort to disband our current enforcement model for something that doesn’t routinely murder innocent civilians.

Or at least inform the laity that we really do live in a fascist police state and it’s up to them whether they find that an acceptable circumstance.

aerinai (profile) says:

This is why you need a licensing system that works

Unfortunately, it will be way too easy for these guys to tout all their years of experience and get hired on another department. If cops had to be licensed like doctors or lawyers, then these types of ‘bad apples’ wouldn’t keep finding their way back into positions where they can harm the public.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: This is why you need a licensing system that works

It would probably be easier to require some form of police malpractice insurance (as has been mentioned before) and creating a personal liability. Then when an officer is put in the position of not being able to get insurance because they create too high a liability for the insurance companies they lose their jobs, and the unions will have little to say about it, unless they are providing the insurance, then they have the liability for their members actions.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

that an entire race needs to be "slaughtered" and "wiped off the map."

Reminder: the idea that humanity is made up of "races", into which humans can be neatly sorted, is just some shit that racists made up. Scientifically, categorizing people based on melanin levels makes about as much sense as categorizing them by blood type or hat size.

cattress (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Race, with regard to humans is not a scientific category or classification. Humans use skin color for race classifications for completely unscientific reasons, usually our own irrational fear of others who appear different than us. Many, probably even most of us, want to believe we are colorblind, and do not see race; we don’t have hate in our hearts. But we have subconscious bias, and it perpetuates the inequality that we tell ourselves doesn’t exist. We cannot become colorblind until we actually are willing to see skin color, and then wrestle with subconscious bias that we hold ourselves, as well as point out to others when we see what they don’t. And it’s not going to be easy, but if we truly love our fellow man, we should be motivated.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Blood Type

My childhood town, a suburb of Los Angeles was profoundly white…and still the neighborhood was delineated along religious and class lines.

In this case, religious meant different chapters of protestant Christian. The most hostile rivalries were between churches that were essentially the same but divided on a point. (There was a Catholic church, but it wasn’t especially disliked.)

By class I mean the kids who got Porsches and Beemers for their sixteenth birthday resented sharing the road with those who got minivans or station wagons for their birthday. And we kids who didn’t have a car at all were totally persona non grata.

I think every society that is larger than a village is going to feel like a plurality of undesirables. And we have the capacity to train ourselves tolerate it and suffer the weirdos in whatever form they take, even when they speak the blackspeech and worship dark gods.

Iggy says:

They were fired for insulting the magistrate. If they just murdered somebody, they would still keep their jobs unless perhaps it was caught on video by a bystander.

These cops dont need therapy or anti-racist enlightenment. They need to be defunded, have their guns taken away, be investigated independently for every killing, and be subject to the same laws they claim to uphold. This isnt about racism or lack of training or even body cameras. This is about power.

Anonymous Coward says:

I might be going against the main sentiment here… but here’s the disclaimer upfront: I am not American, I live in EU where the police have a completely different mindset, is better trained, almost never uses lethal force.

Nevertheless, this case is about recording a private conversation among colleagues on their workplace. For me the primary problem is what cops do, the secondary problem is what they say among themselves. Of course, if they were saying that in public, it would be different. And I understand that by saying that in private they violated their code of conduct. But I don’t understand how this leads to termination – while other cops in US used lethal force and got merely suspended, or a slap on the wrist. This looks like an extreme swing, from one excess to the other… before Floyd, cops were not sanctioned for killing people, now they are fired for ranting some racial slur in their car.

Final note – I do not excuse in any way what they said. What I am trying to say, is that a mostly fascist-thinking police (which is what we have in EU) is not necessarily killing a lot of people, despite their often extreme political views. So if the final objective is to de-militarize the police, then the priority could not necessarily be going after their conversations.

Nonanymous says:

Re: Re:

This was a private conversation at work, so even in EU, that’s no longer private as long as there is awareness of conversations being recorded. Since the cams are part of the workplace, yeah, they are aware of being recorded.

The logic of who should be punished you are trying to use can be summarized thus: We should only get rid of totally rotten apples, the half rotten, unprofessional apples with obviously known biases should be left alone because they are not the most rotten. In other words, I sure as heck would be worried about anything you serve for dinner at your house.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I totally understand your point, but your logic can be summarized as "one punishment fits all", or "as soon as we find out one failure, you are fired". The system you propose tend to have two possible outcomes:
1) sooner or later you find a reason to fire everyone or
2) people inside find a way to game your control system
This is because the quality of the human resources is simply not very high on average. And realistically you cant spend a surgeon’s salary to hire only the best of the best in the police.
In other words, yes, the ingredients are not that good. But you can still eat at McDonalds for a decent price.
What you propose is 3 stars Michelin restaurants, to serve everyone with perfect ingredients, at the same price of the McDonalds.
For how good the idea is in principle (and I do not dispute that), it is unrealistic. And other countries experience show that you can still manage to have decent KPIs with more or less the same human capital quality (the US police kills more people in one year that all killings in UK’s police history combined)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What I am trying to say is that firing people when you "catch" them "showing that they are unfit for their position", if your bar for firing people starts as low as hearing racist rants among themselves, is extremely expensive. No straw argument here, just the statistically verified claim that overtly fascist police forces (like the Italian one) achieve better results in terms of crime containment with much, much less use of lethal force than in the US. Average people "fitness" you can rarely change, but you can change the job itself, making it so simple nobody can make mistakes (training, rules, discipline…) and make the unfit fit. Everyone can cook a decent burger at mcdonalds, the same in New York or in Africa. Very few people can prepare delicious dishes – and I don’t think that the US can afford to hire only super smart people as police officers, that’s all. Perhaps the fact that in the US, on average, it takes more mandatory training to get a barber license than a cop badge support my thesis, that’s all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Before anyone noting that poor police training is not the norm across the entire US, I point out that I did check one state:
1500 hours of training to become a barber in Louisiana
https://www.barber-license.com/louisiana/#complete-training

27 weeks of training (1080hrs) to become a police officer in the same state. https://www.how-to-become-a-police-officer.com/states/louisiana/

Police officers, at least in Louisiana, are ridicously untrained. 27 weeks is nothing to train a person’s reflexes to potentially kill. Being racist of course makes it worse. But lets assume for a moment that you are right, lets kick out all racist police officers from Louisiana. What will you do then with all new hires, with 27 weeks of training, and a loaded gun in their hands? Hope on their good heart not to panic in tense situations?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"What I am trying to say is that firing people when you "catch" them "showing that they are unfit for their position", if your bar for firing people starts as low as hearing racist rants among themselves, is extremely expensive."

And you just keep ballet-dancing around the fact that racism in law enforcement is unacceptable. If it becomes prohibitively expensive to sanitize the public servants because there are too many racists among them then that is itself a wakeup call.

"…just the statistically verified claim that overtly fascist police forces (like the Italian one) achieve better results in terms of crime containment with much, much less use of lethal force than in the US."

…which is bullshit from start to finish.

a) Yes, Italian police manage crime containment better than US forces with less lethal force but so does every other nation save a few third world hellholes in perpetual state of civil war.

Your argument is the relative morality fallacy – where you point out one example of utter shit and then make a nonequal comparison to a somewhat less shitty one and call it the "good option".

b) "…and I don’t think that the US can afford to hire only super smart people as police officers, that’s all."
But apparently just about every other nation with public law enforcement statistics can?

If by "super smart" you mean "able to recognize that Being Brown In Public isn’t, in fact, a capital crime"?

Here’s what you’ve been missing, in your original comment, above; "But I don’t understand how this leads to termination – while other cops in US used lethal force and got merely suspended, or a slap on the wrist."

Look up US police unions. In many states there are rules about how police officers can be prosecuted or sanctioned which render them effectively immune to accusation – which is how they are often able to get away with literal murder.
In other states and municipalities, the unions may not have brokered similar protections.

This is completely different than in the EU where – even in Italy – it would be very strange for a police under accusation to be able to purge his complaint record every 60 days from all official records or be given 24 hours advance review of the evidence against him before having to make a statement, or be immune to being fired despite criminal convictions.

Yet some places in the US have exactly that protection for the police. Others not.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

What I am trying to say is that firing people when you "catch" them "showing that they are unfit for their position", if your bar for firing people starts as low as hearing racist rants among themselves, is extremely expensive.

I disagree. More importantly, I’d be willing to pay more in taxes to offset any costs in ensuring that we don’t have such racist cops.

Ninja (profile) says:

I’ll rule this as an exception much like the sarcastic tone of the article did. But Floyd was just one of these types getting so full of himself that he actually gone and slaughtered a black person just because. By the frequency it happens it would not be "let’s get rid of the bad apples" but rather "throw the entire basket out because there are too many bad apples to save anything".

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