Last month, Timmonsville, S.C., NAACP President the Rev. Jerrod Moultrie slammed local police in a Facebook post, claiming to have been racially profiled during a routine traffic stop.
“Tonight, I was racially profiled by Timmonsville Officer CAUSE I WAS DRIVING A MERCEDES BENZ AND GOING HOME IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD,” Moultrie wrote in the April 13 Facebook post after he was pulled over on a traffic violation.
However, as it turns out, Moultrie’s story may not be the truth; a local community activist who went to the police and reviewed the police bodycam footage says that the video contradicts Moultrie’s claims, News Channel 9 reports.
According to police, Moultrie was pulled over for failing to use a turn signal, as well as for a problem with his license plate.
Moultrie, in his version of events, said that the officer asked him charged questions, such as if there were any drugs inside his car.
In his post, the pastor said that 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 says he was outraged when he saw Moultrie’s post, upset that a black person would be profiled for driving a nice car in a nice neighborhood.
And, so, Waters went to the Timmonsville Police Department and requested to see a copy of the officer’s dash and bodycam video.
And that, apparently, is when Moultrie’s story started to fall apart.
“Once I got a copy of that bodycam, 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,” Waters told the news station.
Waters said that the officer was very kind during the entire four-minute stop.
Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown also got involved, saying that Moultrie had reached out to him with accusations of having been raciallly profiled.
“[Moultrie] 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,” Brown recalled.
Brown said he investigated, only to find that that was apparently not true.
“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,” the police chief said. “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.”
The Root reached out to the Timmonsville NAACP for comment on the incident but got no response. However, local NAACP officers Kenneth McAllister and Henry James Dixon told News Channel 9 that they were hard-pressed to believe that Moultrie would lie, even though they had not viewed the bodycam video.
“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.
“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,” McAllister said. “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.”
Moultrie has since taken down the Facebook post.