Cary police said Friday afternoon that a town officer was not the person who allegedly called a mixed-race woman “half breed” during a Thursday traffic stop. And the mother of the woman said she thinks someone impersonating a Cary officer might be to blame.
On Friday, social media lit up after a woman on Facebook said her daughter was stopped by a Cary officer who used the racist term and told her that her presence was evidence of her parents’ “sin.”
“Yes, we are aware of the complaint, and it is being investigated,” Capt. Randall Rhyne of the Cary Police Department said in an email Friday morning to The News & Observer.
But by Friday afternoon, Cary police said they had spoken with the motorist and concluded that none of their officers were involved in the stop.
“After talking to the daughter to clarify the story, we can confidently say that the stop described in the Facebook post was not conducted by a Cary Police officer,” Tony Godwin, the town’s police chief, said in a news release Friday afternoon. “In addition to the interview, we reviewed Computer Aided Dispatch narratives, Cary police video, and Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) records.
“We would not for a moment tolerate employees treating someone in this manner, or making statements like that described. We take allegations of this kind of behavior seriously.”
Godwin, during a telephone interview with The N&O on Friday night, said he had investigated the incident to the exclusion of everything else for the entire day.
“I honestly don’t know if it happened or not,” he said, “but I can honestly say no Cary police officer was involved.”
The police chief said the motorist told his investigators that she was stopped Thursday morning near Maynard and High House roads. The alleged officer, who did not give the woman his name, was wearing a dark uniform and driving an unmarked car.
“It had blue lights,” Godwin said.
Marie Charette, who wrote the Facebook account of her daughter’s experience, told The N&O on Friday night that she thinks it was someone impersonating a police officer.
“It frightens me that this could happen in this day and time,” she said. “With that said, my daughter was still assaulted with racial slurs, and I am also concerned with this person out there impersonating a cop. I’m thinking my daughter could have easily went with this gentleman believing he was a cop if he told her he had to take her in. It could have been far worse than some racial slurs.”
Godwin said there was no evidence of a Cary patrol cruiser executing a stop at the time the incident allegedly took place. He also pointed out that if such a stop had taken place with a Cary officer, a camera inside of the car would have been activated as soon as the blue lights went on.
“Another agency may have been involved, but I have no way of knowing that,” Godwin said.
The police chief also said the man who performed the traffic stop could have been a “blue light bandit” impersonating a member of law enforcement.
“It’s a possibility,” he said. “I can’t definitively say it wasn’t another agency or that it didn’t happen at all.”
In her original Facebook post, Marie Charette wrote, “My daughter was pulled over today in Cary North Carolina for failure to signal. Once the police officer received her license and saw that she was multi-racial he proceeded to tell her she was a half-breed and God told him to witness to her. Continuing to tell her that her parents should repent of their sins for being married and that we should have never gotten married. She was a living product of our sin. He then told her he was not going to ticket her because his service for the Lord has been done.”
Charette said even though her daughter is still traumatized by the incident, she’s sorry that she “jumped the gun” and posted her concerns on Facebook. She also apologized to the Cary Police Department.
“However, I am glad that this happened to put young people, especially our girls, on notice about being safe on the road,” she said. “Therefore, I guess there was some good in making this public.”