DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A former Lowcountry coroner said using the N-word is a personal preference and does not violate county policies or procedures, according to newly released court records.
The records came to light this week in connection with a lawsuit filed against former Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet by his neighbor, Leroy Fulton.
The lawsuit was filed in 2015 accusing Nisbet of depriving Fulton of his fourth amendment's rights, false imprisonment and assault.
Fulton claims that Nisbet unlawfully pursued him, stopped him and pulled out a gun following an incident at Fulton's home on Aug. 25, 2015.
According to Fulton's lawyer Mullins McLeod, Nisbet used "racial epithets" during the incident.
Newly released court records indicate Nisbet was asked whether "referring to Leroy Fulton using the N-word" violated the Dorchester County policies and procedures.
"Elected officials don't have to follow that," Nisbet said.
When Nisbet was asked whether there should be no tolerance for elected officials to use the n-word, Nisbet said,"That's-I mean, that's a personal preference. You can't tell an elected official what to do. That's the great thing about South Carolina, right."
During the deposition, Nisbet was asked whether calling his neighbor the n-word on the night of the incident constituted hate speech, Nisbet said,"I used it in the term of a gangster-type thug. Yes I I did."
Fulton's lawsuit states Nisbet undertook an unlawful pursuit of him, and without proper legal cause activated the truck's blue lights, chasing Fulton down until he blocked Fulton's vehicle into the parking lot of a park.
The lawsuit states Nisbet then got out of his truck and approached Fulton with his weapon drawn.
Lawyers say Nisbet pointed his gun at Fulton and ordered him to get out of his vehicle and used "racial epithets."
The lawsuit states Fulton got out of his car, and Nisbet "continued to seize" Fulton with his weapon drawn on him.
According to the suit, Fulton was unarmed, did not have any weapons in his vehicle and posed no threat.
Lawyers say Nisbet continued in his official capacity to "unlawfully detain" Fulton with the "threat of deadly force."