The NAACP is investigating a charge of racial profiling made by the president of a South Carolina local chapter, the national organization said Wednesday.
The Rev. Jarrod Moultrie said in a Facebook post that he was racially profiled by a police officer who stopped his car for a traffic violation. The post has been deleted.
But the officer's body cam footage contradicts Moultrie's version of the interaction.
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The South Carolina NAACP has also been investigating discrepancies in Moultrie’s account and the body camera footage, WPDE reported last week.
A Timmonsville police officer stopped Moultrie, president of the Timmonsville NAACP branch, for not engaging his turn signal before turning on April 13. A South Carolina state trooper assisted the officer during the stop, according to Timmonsville police.
Moultrie posted on Facebook he had been racially profiled by a Timmonsville police officer during the 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 post.
In May, Timmonsville police released body camera footage worn by Officer Chris Miles, who stopped Moultrie.
The encounter between Moultrie and Miles is different than what Moultrie described, based on the police body camera footage.
The NAACP said Moultrie addressed apparent contradictions in his account and the body camera footage, clarifying another law enforcement official questioned him during that stop.
“Rev. Moultrie asserted that two different police officers questioned him after his car was stopped in the subdivision in which he resides,” the NAACP said in a news release.
“According to Rev. Moultrie, the body cam footage captures the arrival of the second police cruiser on the scene, but does not capture his interaction with the officer who conducted the initial stop – in a separate vehicle – and who interacted with Rev. Moultrie before the second police cruiser arrived.”
Chief Billy Brown of Timmonsville police said the state trooper seen in the body camera footage didn't get out of the patrol car or speak to Moultrie, WMBF reported.
“Moultrie is lying,” Brown said, according to WMBF.
Brown said a sign that Miles was the first to respond is the record of him calling dispatch with his location and time, which can also be heard on the video, the TV station reported. Miles' request for Moultrie's license is another sign Miles was the first person to respond, Brown said to the TV station, noting that an officer who makes an initial stop requests the driver's license.
In the Facebook post, Moultrie identifies an “officer” with the Timmonsville Police Department and describes a dialogue between him and an “officer.”
Moultrie said in the Facebook post the officer asked him if he had any drugs in the car, where he worked, who was the owner of the car and why he was in the neighborhood.
In the body camera footage Miles can be heard telling Moultrie why he’s being stopped and asking for his license, registration and proof of insurance. Miles also asks Moultrie if the car belongs to him.
“Racial profiling, in this context, concerns the reasons for stopping a particular vehicle at a particular time, not whether the officer conducting the stop (or any other officer on the scene) is impolite,” the NAACP said.
“In the incident involving Rev. Moultrie, the officer in the body cam footage states that the reason for the stop was the driver’s failure to signal for a turn. Whether that justification is a pretext for racial discrimination is an issue separate and distinct from whether any officer displayed racial bias against Rev. Moultrie during the stop.”