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Police Chief and Officer Ousted After Racist Remarks Caught on Body Camera

A police chief and a patrolman from a small city in Georgia were ousted from their positions after body camera footage was discovered in which the pair made racist comments about slavery and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta.

Gene Allmond, the chief of the police department in Hamilton, Ga., resigned Monday, said Buddy Walker, an assistant to the mayor, Julie Brown. The patrolman, John Brooks, was fired on Tuesday after he offered to resign but did not return his department-issued equipment on time as promised, Mr. Walker said.

The video, which was recorded in June on a body camera that Mr. Brooks was wearing and was posted online by television news station WTVM, shows Mr. Brooks using a racial slur while making lewd comments about Ms. Bottoms and Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic candidate for governor.

The video also shows Mr. Allmond and Mr. Brooks discussing slavery. Mr. Allmond is heard saying, “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 work.

The conversation was recorded outside of the police department as the two were preparing to patrol a Black Lives Matter rally in Hamilton, a city of 2,000 people about 90 miles south of Atlanta.

Mr. Brooks was trying to show Mr. Allmond how the body cameras worked, Mr. Walker said on Sunday.

“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,” Mr. Walker said. “The words just rolled out of their mouths. There was no hesitation.”

Mr. Allmond and Mr. Brooks could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.

The footage was discovered on Monday by a city employee who had been examining the body cameras to determine why they were not functioning.

Mr. Brooks had told the mayor and members of the City Council, which had inquired why the police were not using body cameras, that the cameras were broken. It was discovered that the body cameras were full of footage and had run out of storage.

The employee alerted Mr. Walker to the video, and he watched it Monday evening with Ransom Farley, the mayor pro tempore.

Mr. Walker, who is white, said of watching it with Mr. Farley, who is Black: “To look at the video with him, to listen to someone that he’s known for many years — my reaction was incredibly bad. You can imagine his reaction.”

Mr. Farley said on Sunday that he had to leave the room after watching the video. “It hurts,” he said, “when you think you know somebody and you don’t.”

Mr. Walker contacted the mayor and members of the City Council, who gathered at City Hall on Monday evening.

“Everybody knew what had to be done,” Mr. Walker said. “It was not one of our proudest days.”

Told he could resign or be fired, Mr. Brooks asked to see the footage.

“He watched the entire video and then came in and told the mayor pro temp that he was sorry — that that was really not the way he was,” Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Farley said he told Mr. Brooks: “I’m not accepting your apology, because you’re sorry that you got caught. You’re not sorry because of what you said.”

“I own the fact that I am Black and I am gay,” Mr. Farley added. “If you’re a bigot, if you’re a racist, own it.”

The city is searching for a replacement for Mr. Allmond, Mr. Walker said. The city’s police force is now down to two part-time patrolmen; the county sheriff and other local police departments have offered their help, he said.

“Although we were quite frankly horrified, there had been some inklings” that Mr. Allmond and Mr. Brooks held racist views, Mr. Walker said. “Even though it was horrifying and disgusting, it was probably not surprising.”

Mr. Farley noted that Mr. Allmond and Mr. Brooks had been caught because Mr. Brooks had unknowingly recorded their conversation, not because someone else had sought to catch them.

“Nobody told on them,” he said. “They told on themselves.”

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