TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The President of the Timmonsville NAACP who claims he was racially profiled during a traffic stop on April 13 says two officers questioned him during the stop, according to a news release from the NAACP. The NAACP has launched an internal investigation into the matter.
President Rev. Jerrod Moultrie was questioned by the NAACP's Regional Field Office after body camera footage released by the Timmonsville Police Department appeared to contradict Moultrie's account of the incident that he posted to his Facebook page. According to the release, Moultrie says two different police officers questioned him. Moultrie asserts the body camera footage released by Timmonsville Police captures the arrival of the second officer on scene, but fails to show the officer who conducted the initial traffic stop. Moultrie says that officer spoke with him prior to the arrival of the second officer, the release says.
The NAACP stresses that racial profiling concerns the reasons for stopping a vehicle at a particular time, not whether the officer who conducted the traffic stop is rude. Per the body camera footage, the officer says the reason for the stop was Moultrie's failure to use a turn signal. The NAACP says whether the justification of the stop is a pretext for racial discrimination is an issue separate from whether any officer displayed racial bias towards Moultrie during the traffic stop.
In a statement to WMBF News, Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown says the officer seen in the body camera footage calls into dispatch his location and the time, indicating he is the first person to respond. Brown says another indicator he's the first officer on scene is the fact that he takes Moultrie's license, noting that the officer who makes the initial stop requests the driver's license from the driver.
"Moultrie is lying," Chief Brown said.
Brown says although a South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper is seen in the body camera footage, the trooper never gets out of his vehicle or has any contact with Moultrie.
"They [NAACP] should admit they are wrong and apologize to the officer and the community," Brown said.