A South Carolina police officer is suspended without pay, pending a disciplinary command review, after being captured on video repeatedly saying the N-word.
According to the video footage, the officer, identified as Columbia Police Sgt. Chad Walker by the Washington Post, apparently took issue with a Black civilian calling him the N-word and decided it was fine for him to use the racial slur even though he is White.
“He can say it to me, but I can’t say it to him?” Walker asked, pointing to a Black man as witnesses demanded that he stop using the slur.
The incident unfolded on Saturday night at a bar in the Five Points neighborhood, according to the Post. Officers were enforcing the governor’s mandate, which prohibits bars from serving alcohol past 11 p.m,. in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Body camera footage shows Walker telling a few bargoers to leave their drinks and leave the bar or be arrested.
Disgruntled customers left, though one man could be heard expressing his annoyance, although it is not quite clear what he said.
A Black man then apparently used the N-word, to which Walker snaps back at him for being “color-blind.”
As customers gather outside, one man could be heard reprimanding for how he spoke to the Black man.
“This gentleman right there that called me a n–ger,” Walker said, pointing at the Black man. “That guy, that called me a n–ger.”
The crowd immediately demands that Walker stop using the slur, while the Black man himself insisted that he never called Walker the N-word.
“All you’re doing is calling me ignorant,” Walker continued to yell as others from the crowd led the Black man away. “That’s what that word means.”
Even then, the officer continues to argue with bystanders.
“When I was called that, I can say it back,” Walker insisted.
In the end, the Columbia Police Department’s chief apologized for Walker’s actions while announcing his suspension.
“It is evident the actions of Sgt. Walker were a clear failure to fulfill the expectations and standards of our department,” Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said in a statement. “The repetition of the racial slur and failure to de-escalate the situation were inexcusable.”