North Carolina officers fired over racist remarks, 89 incidents now under review

3 NC officers fired for "hate-filled speech"
3 NC officers fired for "hate-filled speech" 04:02

Three North Carolina officers were fired over remarks they made, with one saying he was "ready" for a second "civil war." Now, 89 cases in which the officers were involved are under review for bias, according to the local district attorney. 

Donny Williams, Wilmington's first black police chief, said he fired the three officers on his first day in the role. 

"These individuals do not deserve to be in law enforcement," he told "CBS This Morning" lead national correspondent David Begnaud.

An internal investigation at the Wilmington Police Department accused veteran officers Kevin Piner, James "Brian" Gilmore and Corporal Jessie Moore of violating standards of conduct and using inappropriate slurs after a routine video audit of Piner's patrol car caught racially-charged conversations in which they repeatedly used the n-word. 

In the audio, Piner can be heard telling Moore that he is "ready" for a civil war, and planned to buy an assault rifle to "start slaughtering them" followed by the n-word. One of the officers said they wanted to "wipe 'em off the [expletive] map." 

During a phone call, Moore refers to a woman who was resisting arrest as the n-word multiple times and says "she needed a bullet in her head right then."

Williams said the incident was brought to his attention as soon as it was found, and although one of the officers tried to resign, he insisted on firing them.

"People are tired of officers being involved in misconduct and walking away quietly," he said.

Normally, Williams said, officers involved in misconduct cases are allowed to resign and "slip away quietly," and in some cases even maintain their certification and get another law enforcement job. 

"I wanted to fire him to make sure that their chances of being rehired again were minimized," he said. 

According to investigators, the officers admitted it was their voices on the video but blamed their comments on performing their job under "the stress of today's climate in law enforcement." Weeks-long protests over police brutality and racism have erupted across the U.S. since the death of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd at the hands of a white officer. 

CBS News reached out to the police union and three officers for comment but have not yet heard back.

Williams has asked the district attorney to review the other cases the officers are involved in for bias, and some of the 89 flagged incidents have already been thrown out. In the meantime, he called for expanding the diversity of his force. 

"But the color of a person's skin is not going to determine the color of their heart. You have white officers that are good officers, you have white officers that are bad officers," Williams said. "You have black officers that are good officers, and you also have black officers that are bad officers. The color of their heart is more important to me than the color of their skin."