The Rev. Jerrod Moultrie, a South Carolina NAACP president, claimed that he was racially profiled during a recent traffic stop.
Bodycam footage, however, has emerged and flipped the story’s entire narrative on its head.
Why was he pulled over, anyway?
WPDE-TV reported that police stopped Moultrie for failure to use a turn signal as well as an issue with his license plate.
What did Moultrie allege?
Moultrie, in a Facebook post, detailed his experience with a Timmonsville, South Carolina, police officer during a traffic stop in April.
According to WPDE-TV, Moultrie wrote, “Tonight, I was racially profiled by Timmonsville Officer CAUSE I WAS DRIVING A MERCEDES BENZ AND GOING HOME IN A NICE NEIGHBORHOOD.”
Moultrie went on to detail the alleged conversation between him and the white officer in the now-deleted Facebook post.
Screenshots of Moultrie’s account of the interaction remained on the internet, however:
Moultrie described the white officer as belligerent and abusive and noted that when he told the officer that he lived in the neighborhood — and that the Mercedes Benz he was driving belonged to Moultrie — the officer supposedly quipped, “And I guess I am Bill Gates.”
“I am doing you a favor tonight not taking you to jail or writing you a ticket,” the officer replied Moultrie claimed.
Moultrie added that his wife and a child were in the car’s backseat during the stop.
“Guess I can’t be a pastor and can’t drive a Mercedes Benz and live in a nice neighborhood,” Moultrie wrote. “Someone needs to answer for this behavior and this officer will.”
What story did the bodycam footage tell?
Timothy Waters, a local community activist, was disturbed by Moultrie’s claims. So Waters was eager to unearth the bodycam footage from the traffic stop in order to support Moultrie.
When Waters obtained the bodycam footage, he was shocked — and not because of the way the officer treated Moultrie.
“Once I got a copy of that bodycam, it’s as if he made the whole story up,” Waters told WPDE. “And I felt like he set us back 100 years, because think about all of the racial profiling cases (that) are true.”
According to the station, Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown said that Moultrie called him the next morning to complain about his officer’s conduct.
“He made a comment that the officer accused him of having drugs in the car,” Brown told WPDE. “He said that his wife and grandchild was in the car. He asked them not to move because the officer looked as if he might shoot them or something.”
“He also made mention that the officer continued to ask him about his neighborhood,” Brown added. “Why was he in that neighborhood? And threaten[ed] to put him in jail in reference to something dealing with the registration to the vehicle.”
Brown said that he was “shocked” when he saw the video that “someone who is supposed to be a community leader, a pastor, and head of the NAACP would just come out and tell a blatant lie.”
“It bothered me,” Brown admitted. “It really bothered me, thinking about the racial unrest it could have cost in the community.”
Has Moultrie or the NAACP responded to the media attention?
Moultrie did not respond to WPDE’s request for comment, nor has he acknowledged the story on his Facebook page at the time of this writing.
Timmonsville NAACP officers Kenneth McAllister and Henry James Dixon told WPDE, however, that they could not imagine Moultrie lying about something of that “magnitude.”
“We don’t condone the wrong that a person has done, we just don’t believe he would have told a lie about something of that magnitude,” Dixon said. “We’re not saying a person is incapable of lying. Just from his character we don’t think he would have lied about something like that. In all fairness, to the NAACP and the community, we will watch the video and have a conversation with our NAACP President.”
McAllister added, “Based on Rev. Moultrie’s character and, I wouldn’t have served as his vice president if I felt that he was a liar. I just wouldn’t do that. But I know he has worked very hard, very diligently, in bringing back together this branch of the NAACP. And we realize everything that the NAACP is about, and it’s not about that.”