I live in Wilmington, NC. Nice beaches just a few minutes’ drive away, warm weather, college town ambience in some areas. And lots and lots of racism, both overt and (barely) under the surface. And, like so many other cities, towns and rural districts across this great country of ours (TM), our police departments and sheriff’s offices are…problematic. Some of the officers are as bluntly and callously racist as you can get. Others are good and dedicated people. I know, I’ve worked with them when I was in the educational system. This story is about both sets. [Trigger alert: I am not going to use bleeps or asterisks to sanitize the words spoken by the racists in this story. Be warned.] The Wilmington Police Department, which has a distinctly checkered history in race relations, has a new police chief, Donny Williams. Williams is black. That’s notable. One of Williams’s first actions as chief was to fire three particularly bestial racists on the force. Name them and shame them: Michael “Kevin” Piner, James “Brian” Gilmore, and Jessie E. Moore II, all white, all veterans of the police force. The firings come after a routine review of dashcam footage that accidentally recorded two phone conversations between the officers. Williams used the “extraordinary circumstances” exclusion in North Carolina law to allow him to report the details of the firings. A lawyer for the officers attempted to prevent Williams from doing just that. In a press conference by Williams and some — not all — members of the City Council, Williams said: Why are we releasing this information this way and at this time? Because it is the right thing to do. Normally, personnel laws allow only a very small amount of information to be made public. However, in exceptional cases, when it is essential to maintain public confidence in the administration of the City and the Police Department, more information may be released. This is the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career. We must establish new reforms for policing here at home and throughout this country. He added: When I first learned of these conversations, I was shocked, saddened and disgusted. There is no place for this behavior in our agency or our city and it will not be tolerated. Mayor Bill Saffo added, “I can honestly say that I was sickened by the vile and destructive language used by these officers.” Williams will release the video footage if he can secure the approval of a judge. The June 4, 2020 conversations were recorded from Piner’s car. The first recording to draw the attention of the police supervisor was a conversation between Piner and Gilmore, who pulled up alongside Piner in his car. When the conversations turned to the George Floyd protests, the talk quicly turned ugly. Piner told Gilmore that the WPD was only interested in “kneeling down with the black folks.” Gilmore replied that he had seen a YouTube video of white people bowing down on their knees and “worshipping blacks.” Bad enough, right? It gets worse. The three then began badmouthing some of their black colleagues. One was characterized as “bad news” and a “piece of shit.” Piner said of the black officer, “Let’s see how his boys take care of him when shit gets rough, […]
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Sometimes people in Washington get it plain wrong!
If conservatives support police killing citizens without justification, climate denial, fact denial, science denial, racist and misogynistic behavior, or a litany of other absurd points of view about numerous important issues, we call them out.