Rev. Bill Godair of North Carolina’s Cornerstone Church joined forces with the NAACP last week to claim the police in Salisbury have a history of mistreating citizens.
“With all of the issues that have taken place in Ferguson, Missouri,” he said, “I refuse to sit back and not do anything or say anything until Ferguson, Missouri, becomes a reality here in Salisbury.”
Godair held a press conference in which he claimed a number of people have come to him about police mistreatment, and said he has personally experienced it, as well.
“A year ago,” he said, “I felt that I was very, very badly mistreated by the Salisbury PD. I had just been to a funeral. I was on my way to the hospital. I was in dress clothes, my wife was with me. … I never said anything to nobody, actually it was in February of 2013.”
According to WBTV, Godair wrote a letter to Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson claiming his wife was “scared” by the aggressive behavior of the officer.
But police say there is “no evidence of misconduct” in the police officer’s interaction with Godair, and released the video of when the reverend was pulled over in 2013 to prove it (footage via WBTV):
In the video, the police officer informs Godair he was going 58 mph in a 45-mph zone.
While Godair claimed he was en route to the hospital during the press conference, in the video released by police, he said he was “trying to get to the cleaners.”
“I’m trying to get to the cleaners,” he said. “I’m a pastor at a church and the cleaner closes at 4 o’clock.”
Godair also freely admitted in the video that he was speeding, saying, “I’m guilty, honestly.”
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said in a statement, according to WSOC-TV: “It is clear to me that the officers acted appropriately and respectfully.”
WSOC-TV contacted Godair about the incident, and he maintains the police acted inappropriately.
“We both felt that was a threatening situation for us,” he said. “We felt very uncomfortable that day.”
A representative from the church did not immediately return TheBlaze’s request for comment.
More on the story via WSOC-TV, below:
Update: TheBlaze spoke with Reverend Godair on August 28 and he expressed regret that the story has become about his experience, when he was trying to draw attention to what he believes is a larger issue.
“It was never about me,” he said. “It was about the people that stood up [against police mistreatment].”
The reverend added that his church will be releasing a video on its Facebook page that will make people “very, very surprised.”