Three police officers fired after they are caught using 'hate-filled speech,' chief says

Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams is seen in this image from a news conference announcing the firing of three police officers after they were caught on video making hateful remarks about Black people.

(CNN)Three Wilmington, North Carolina, police officers have been fired after they were heard on video spewing "hate-filled speech" and referring "to Black people as the n-word," Police Chief Donny Williams said Wednesday.

The officers were identified as Officer James Gilmore, Corporal Jesse Moore II and Officer Kevin Piner. According to a report that details the findings of an internal investigation, Piner and Moore also criticized Williams, who is Black. Piner and Gilmore criticized other Black police officers in the department.
At one point, according to the report, Officer Piner said he was "ready" for a civil war and talked about "slaughtering" Black people, referring to them by using the n-word.
    "I can't wait," he said. "God, I can't wait."
    Each officer was a veteran of the department, having been hired in the late 1990s, according to employment records released by the city.
    The firing of the officers in Wilmington -- a coastal city about 80 miles north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -- comes amid a nationwide reckoning over race and policing following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
    In a statement Wednesday, Williams said the Wilmington officers' comments were "brutally offensive and deserved immediate action."
    "This is the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career," Williams said. "We must establish new reforms for policing here at home and throughout this country."
    Williams said he has recommended that none of the three officers be eligible for rehiring in Wilmington. He said he would notify the North Carolina Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission to determine whether the officers can maintain certification to practice law enforcement in the state.
    The department also will consult with the district attorney's office about this case to determine if crimes were committed by the officers, Williams said in the internal investigation documents, and would review the cases the officers had charged to see if there was any bias toward the offenders.
    Additionally, the police department is asking the courts to decide whether some or all of the video should be released.
    CNN has reached out to the union representing the police department for comment. Attempts to reach each officer were unsuccessful.

    'Put 'em back about four or five generations'

    The video was discovered on June 4 during a monthly video review, according to the internal investigation report. The footage, captured by Piner's in-vehicle dashboard camera, was classified as an "accidental activation," the report says.
    About 46 minutes into the nearly 2-hour-long video, Piner is heard speaking with Gilmore, who has pulled his vehicle up beside Piner's.
    The two officers discuss recent Black Lives Matter protests, and Piner says that the department's only concern is "kneeling down with the Black folks." Gilmore also describes a video he saw about White people "bowing down on their knees and 'worshipping Blacks,'" the report says.
    "How many times have I told you it's almost like they think they're their own god?" Gilmore said, according to the report.
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