The president of the Timmonsville, South Carolina branch of the NAACP accused a police officer of racially profiling him, but the body camera video of the incident disputes his story.
According to WJBF’s sister station WBTW in Florence/Myrtle Beach, Reverend Jerrod Moultrie posted a status on Facebook on Apr. 13 that said he was racially profiled by an officer after he was pulled over.
In the Facebook post, Moultrie said he was pulled over by the officer because he was driving a Mercedes-Benz in a “nice neighborhood”. Moultried then gave his version of the story.
The Timmonsville Police Department e-mailed WBTW a copy of the four minute body camera video that shows the officer’s encounter with Moultrie.
In the body camera video, the officer said he stopped Moultrie because he didn’t use his turn signal.
“The reason I’m coming in contact with you, is whenever you took the left right here, you didn’t signal,” the officer said. “That’s the only reason I’m coming in contact with you, okay?”
The officer then walks back to his patrol car with Moultrie’s information, and after about one minute and fifteen seconds, the officer walks about to Moultrie’s car.
“Alright Mr. Moultrie here you go,” he said. “Try not to drive your car no more until you can get the proper documentation because this registration is coming back to a 1992 GMC truck. It’s even in the system as that too, but what I’m saying, you have to have the proper registration and everything, insurance, and all that stuff to actually indicate the plate comes back to this motor vehicle, okay? Because when I run the plate, it’s still coming back to this. It’s not coming back to your car.”
“Okay I understand that, but look,” Moultrie said as he pointed to the documents. “I just bought the car the other day. I switched the tags.”
“You probably need to go to the DMV, and ask them how come that’s not registered because on the State of South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, it’s still coming back to that truck,” the officer told Moultrie.
“I understand that, but this is what I’m telling you. I switched the tags from the truck to the car,” Moultrie explained to the Timmonsville Officer. “They told me at DMV, the dealer put that on there that show that the tags will be transferred, and all I need to do was keep this registration in there.”
“They told you wrong,” the officer responded. “You’ve got to have the proper documentation in your motor vehicle that actually matches the car that you’re operating on South Carolina Highways,” he continued. “They told you wrong, okay? Alright. Other than that there’s your driver’s license. Just make sure you wear your seat belt at all times while operating a motor vehicle in South Carolina highways, and drive safe, okay?”
The officer turned his camera off as he walked back to his car.
Community member, Tim Waters, said when he first saw Reverend Moultrie’s Facebook post, he immediately wanted to see the body camera video.
“I wanted to say, ‘Man, let’s go! They’re racially profiling you.’ Come to find out, they ain’t racially profiling nothing,” said Waters. “It feels like they set us back one hundred years because think about it, who’s going to believe us now? A bad person can’t stop a good movement, but a bad person can really slow it down.”
To read Moultrie’s entire Facebook post and to read a statement by the Timmonsville Chief of Police, click here.