Pee Dee

Local NAACP president says he was racially profiled, police body cam contradicts his story

TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WBTW) - The president of the Timmonsville NAACP branch accused a Timmonsville police officer of racially profiling him, but the body camera video of the incident doesn't match the man's story.


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.


Moultrie has since taken down the post, but the Timmonsville Police Department emailed News13 a scanned copy.


In the Facebook post, Moultrie said he was pulled over by the officer because he was driving a Mercedes-Benz in a "nice neighborhood."


Moultrie then gave his version of the story. He said the officer stopped him because he (Moultrie) didn't use his turn signal, and said the officer then asked him if he had drugs in his car.


Moultrie said the officer persistently asked him why he was in that neighborhood. According to his post, Moultrie said the officer took his license and registration, and when he came back, the officer said his tags were registered to another vehicle.


Moultrie said he told the officer he had just bought his Mercedes-Benz, and is in the process of transferring information.


Toward the end of his Facebook post, Reverend Moultrie said the officer told him, "I am doing you a favor tonight [by] not taking you to jail or writing you a ticket."


The Timmonsville Police Department emailed News13 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.
Waters requested the body camera video from the Timmonsville Police Department through the Freedom of Information Act.
"My first reaction was I didn't believe it," Waters said about watching to body camera video for the first time. "I thought I was going to see a real serious incident, but I just saw a lot of stuff that wasn't true."
Waters said he was disappointed in Moultrie's accusations.
"Certain things when the way the country is, the way the state of the world, you don't make up false racial profiling," Waters told News13. "You see people getting shot. You see people getting killed. You see people getting man-handled, and here you are making something up that's so detrimental to our community."
Waters said he thinks Moultrie's actions are a step back for the African-American community.
"It feels like they set us back one hundred years because think about it, who's going to believe us now?" he said. "A bad person can't stop a good movement, but a bad person can really slow it down."
The community activist said he wants Moultrie to apologize.
"We all make mistakes, but to just blatantly change a situation that could be real volatile?" he said. "I just want to say to him [Moultrie], come out and say, 'Hey man, I messed up,' or 'I'm sorry, I hate I hurt everybody.' People will embrace him if he comes out."
Waters said he wants to see action taken by the NAACP's national office.
"I think the national office needs to come down and set it straight," said Waters. "I think they need to take some actions. They need to suspend him. They need to say 'We don't tolerate this.' Somebody needs to come and say, 'Hey look, that's not our agency. That's not our group. We don't stand for that.'"


News13 reached out to Reverend Moultrie, but he did not respond.


Timmsonville Police Chief, Billy Brown, released this statement to News13:


"After receiving the complaint from Reverend Moultrie in reference to the supposed racial profiling traffic stop, Reverend Moultrie told me that the officer stopped him [to] ask if you had drugs in the car [and] ask[ed] why he was in the community as several times whose car was it, and also made mention that he could put him in jail or write him a citation. I was totally shocked, but I told him that I had to view it for myself. After seeing the video I could not believe that not even one of the accusations that Moultrie made was on the video. Tim Waters requested a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act and placed it on Moultrie's Facebook page to show everyone that he had lied. This was a bad situation that could have been worse. We have to move on and take care of what we were hired for, to protect [the] people within the town [of] Timmonsville."

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