The police chief of a small Georgia city has resigned and a patrolman was fired last week after the two were caught on body cam video having a “horrifying” and racist conversation about slavery, Black people being shot by police and Stacey Abrams.
The June conversation caught on video between Hamilton Police Chief Gene Allmond and officer John Brooks began with the two discussing the recent fatal shooting of a Black man by a police officer. The video was released by the city to local media and seen by NBC News. It is unclear what happened immediately before the video started recording.
Brooks begins by recounting what a commentator on Fox News had to say about the shooting, in which the Black man had grabbed an officer’s Taser and pointed it at him.
“What they’re saying now is, ‘Well, they didn’t have to shoot him, it’s just a Taser,” Brooks said, in a mocking tone. “Then how come when you tase a f—ing n—– it’s like you done killed him 27 times?”
“The mayor up there, she’s already fired the officer … without a hearing,” Brooks added.
He appeared to be talking about the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, 27, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Hamilton is about 90 miles south of Atlanta.
“They say she’s now the front-runner to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential candidate,” Brooks continued.
“You’re kidding,” Allmond answered.
And without a clear transition, Brooks responded: “Because if I had to f— a n——, I’d rather f— the mayor than Stacey Abrams.”
“Yes, sir,” Allmond agreed, occasionally pulling on a cigarette.
Both Bottoms and Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, were thought to be in the running for President Joe Biden’s nominee for vice president.
After ignoring a call, saying it’s in another town, the two continue their conversation.
“Protests — these f—ing people,” Allmond said. “I didn’t own no slaves, my folks didn’t own no slaves. What are we talking about 200 f—ing years ago?”
Brooks said he has done research on his family history and found evidence of slave ownership by his relatives.
That made Allmond laugh.
“I know there were a lot of them mistreated; I don’t have any doubt about that. But 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 f—ing work,” Allmond said. “And now, we give them all those things, and they don’t have to f—ng work.”
Buddy Walker, assistant to Hamilton Mayor Julie Brown, said the footage was captured before a Black Lives Matter rally in the city in June of last year.
He said it was only recently discovered when city hall questioned why police officers weren’t wearing their body cameras and the officers said the cameras were not working. Upon further investigation, the cameras were just full, Walker said. Before deleting the footage, a city employee went through it to make sure they weren’t deleting anything important.
The city employee found the footage of Allmond and Brooks, then notified Mayor Pro Tem Ransom Farley, who oversees police. Farley, who is Black, and Walker watched the video on Monday, Jan. 25.
“Ransom and I have been friends for 40 years at least,” Walker told NBC News, his voice breaking. “Sorry, it gets a little emotional … The reaction from him was enough to break your heart.”
“We watched the first portion, and he got up and left the room until he could calm down, and we watched the rest of it,” Walker said.
Once the city attorney and mayor saw the video, Brooks and Chief Allmond were given the option to resign or be fired, according to a statement from Hamilton City Attorney Ron Iddins.
Brooks asked to see the footage and after viewing it, chose to resign. “He was instructed to turn in his City equipment and pick up his personal belongings Tuesday morning. He did not. Therefore, on Wednesday he was terminated,” Iddins said.
Allmond also chose to resign, Iddins said, adding, “the next morning we found his equipment and resignation letter taped to the computer monitor in the police station.”
Neither officer thought the body camera was working, Iddins said.
Brooks tried to apologize to Mayor Pro Tem Farley Monday night, Walker said. Brooks added “the classic; ‘that’s not really how I am,'” according to Walker.
Farley did not accept his apology.
“This was just heartbreaking for him,” Walker said.
“I’m 74 years old — I grew up in the south. You know, I’ve heard a lot in my life, but I can honestly say without a doubt it was the most unbelievable and horrifying video that I really think that I have seen,” Walker said. “It’s like it’s a nightmare, honestly.”
While neither Brooks or Allmond had previous official complaints against them, anonymous complaints against them have started rolling in since the video surfaced, according to Walker.
Walker said he was at the Black Lives Matter rally that the two officers were preparing for when the footage was captured.
“We were uneasy on that particular day,” Walker recalled. “It was fairly obvious that the two policemen from the city of Hamilton were not there to protect the BLM rally.”
Efforts to reach Brooks and Allmond by phone were unsuccessful Monday. Iddins said Monday that neither officer had been heard from.