For more than half a decade, cities across the United States have erupted into protests because of the perception that, for far too many in law enforcement, Black lives do not matter. Bodycam footage of a virulently racist conversation between a Georgia police chief and a patrolman during one of these protests made the point for the demonstrators.
In footage that surfaced during the Black Lives Matter protests in western Georgia, Hamilton Police Chief Gene Allmond police chief and patrolman John Brooks could be heard flinging the n-word around and minimizing slavery when they thought their cameras were broken. Allmond reportedly resigned following a massive outcry, and Brooks was fired after failing to return his uniform and department issued equipment by the agreed upon deadline, the local news outlet WTVM-TV reported.
The footage—which was recorded on Brooks’s bodycam in June as the two were preparing to assist with patrolling a Black Lives Matter rally—shows the two men repeatedly using the n-word to slur prominent Black leaders, minimizing slavery, and mocking issues of criminal and social justice.
The video starts with Brooks angrily discussing the firing of an Atlanta police officer who fatally shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was shot and killed after he allegedly resisted arrest, stole an officer’s Taser, and fired the Taser as he ran away in June 2020.
“Well you didn’t have to shoot him, it’s just a Taser,” Brooks, paraphrasing something Dan Bongino had said about the public outcry, can be heard saying in a tone meant to mock critics of police. Then came the n-word: “Well, how come when you tase a fucking n***** it’s like you done killed him 27 times.”
Later in the video the two disparage Black citizens as freeloaders and speak fondly about the treatment of slaves.
“For the most part, it seems to me like they furnished them a house to live in. They furnished them clothes to put on their back. They furnished them food to put on their table and all they had to do was fucking work,” one of the men says. “And now we give ‘em all those things and they don’t have to fucking work.”
Brooks also used the n-word while lewdly discussing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (both are Democrats).
Both men were under the mistaken impression that the department’s body cameras did not work. After Brooks told the mayor about the malfunctions, a city employee was tasked with figuring out what was wrong with the equipment. The employee soon realized that the cameras were fully operational but their memory storage was full, unearthing hours of previously unseen footage.
“I’m not sure if he was stupid enough — obviously he was stupid enough — not to know it was still working and that he still had it on,” Buddy Walker, an assistant to Mayor Julie Brown said in response to viewing the video. “The words just rolled out of their mouths. There was no hesitation.”
According to the New York Times, Ransom Farley, the mayor pro tempore, said Brooks tried to apologize for his words saying that was “really not the way he was,” but the excuse was rebuffed.
“I’m not accepting your apology, because you’re sorry that you got caught. You’re not sorry because of what you said,” Farley said. “I own the fact that I am Black, and I am gay. If you’re a bigot, if you’re a racist, own it.”
Within two hours of viewing the footage, city officials told the men they would be fired if they did not resign.
[image via YouTube screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]