TIMMONSVILLE, S.C. – A man identified as the president of the Timmonsville NAACP chapter said in a Facebook post that he was racially profiled by a Timmonsville police officer. A body cam video provided by the Timmonsville Police Department contradicts his claims.
The Rev. Jerrod Moultrie, whose Facebook page says he is still the chapter’s president, posted on April 13 that he was racially profiled by a Timmonsville officer because he was “driving a Mercedes Benz and going home in a nice neighborhood.” It is unclear what Timmonsville neighborhood he was referring to.
In the post, Moultrie recapped his conversation with the officer during a traffic stop that occurred on April 12. He said the officer stopped him for failure to use a turn signal and then asked if he had drugs in his car.
After being asked for his license and registration, Moultrie said in the post, he opened the “glove box” in his car and told the officer, “This is a new car I just purchased and all I have is bill of sale insurance card and registration from car I am transferring tags.”
According to Moultrie’s post, the officer then says “Ok, where you work and who car is this and why you in this neighborhood.” Moultrie tells the officer where his house is located and that he is a pastor, the post said. The officer responds by saying, “And I am the Bill Gates,” according to Moultrie’s Facebook post.
Moultrie continues his recount of the interaction by saying the officer again questions him about why he is in that specific neighborhood in Timmonsville. And after reviewing his information, the officer supposedly tells Moultrie that his tags are registered to another vehicle and he should not drive the car until he gets the situation straightened with the DMV. Moultrie said the officer told him he was doing him a favor for not taking him to jail or writing him a ticket.
“This officer thought he had some drugs or something cause since when 2 patrol car stops one car on a turn signal issue,” Moultrie said in the post. “Guess I can’t be a pastor and can’t drive a Mercedes Benz and live in a nice neighborhood. Well you know as president of Timmonsville NAACP he stop the wrong car tonight cause someone needs to answer for this behavior…”
Moultrie’s post was later removed from Facebook.
In the body cam video, Officer Chris Miles tells Moultrie that the reason he came in contact with him is due to him not signaling when he made a right turn.
“That’s the only reason I’m coming in contact with you, OK?” Miles said in the video.
There was no mention of drugs in the body cam video. Miles did not question Moultrie about why he was in that particular neighborhood or make any mention of Bill Gates. He did suggest for Moultrie to not drive the car until he gets proper documentation because the registration came back to a 1992 GMC truck instead of a Mercedes car.
Timmonsville Police Chief Billy Brown said he was surprised when he heard of Moultrie’s allegations, as they were not of Miles’ character. Brown said he was out of the office when he heard of the allegations but immediately got his captain to look at the body cam video to see what happened.
“And my captain called me back and pretty much said chief, what he (Moultrie) said happened didn’t happen at all,” Brown said.
He said he accepted what the captain said but needed to see the video for himself, too.
Brown said Moultrie’s false allegations of racial profiling need to be made public.
“But I think by him being the president of NAACP for the Timmonsville area, that it needs to be out to the public for the simple reason, if and when something else happens, they need to be able to look at the credibility of who’s presenting it,” Brown said. “I mean, if he lied about this to us, he’ll lie about anything to anyone. I just don’t think we need his type of representation.”
Miles has chosen not to comment on the situation. Moultrie did not return a call to the Morning News.
Timmonsville Councilman Curtis Harris, who is also affiliated with the NAACP, said he did not believe Moultrie’s allegations “have any basis of truth in it.” He said he is very disappointed.
According to Harris, the Timmonsville community did not vote to have Moultrie lead the NAACP chapter. He was instead “anointed” by the South Carolina NAACP Executive Director Dwight C. James Sr. after the Timmonsville chapter became defunct, Harris said.
“The way they rigged it, they wouldn’t let anybody else vote, closed vote,” Harris said.
James should take full responsibility for his mistake, according to Harris.
“Prior to that (Moultrie becoming president), all of the leadership for the NAACP was from the community, by the community and of the community,” Harris said. “He (Moultrie) is not from the community. He was not recommended by the community. And he is not a part of the community.”
Harris said he would like to see an open, fair election for a new local NAACP president who is a reputable person.