Protesters learn of CPD officer’s firing during demonstration calling for his termination

Updated: Sep. 1, 2020 at 8:37 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Columbia Police Department officer has been fired after body camera footage proved the officer used a racial slur multiple times.

The department initially suspended the officer after complaints about the incident. But after a review of the video by the CPD Chain of Command Disciplinary Review Board, they unanimously decided to fire the officer.

The update on the officer’s employment status came Monday night as protesters gathered outside the State House demanding the officer’s termination.

One demonstrator, Jerry Hammond, told WIS that some law enforcement officers have gotten away with more serious offenses.

“There’s so much more heavier things where people are dying that we get no answer for and we’re getting an answer off of something like this? Let’s keep it rolling. Let’s keeping it going,” he said. “If we can we get some kind of reaction with the backlash of this injustice that happened, we should be getting the same thing for everything across the board.”

The incident in question happened around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Police say Sgt. Chad Walker went into Bar None in Five Points and found violations of the governor’s executive order banning alcohol sale and consumption after 11 p.m.

While enforcing the order, the officer claims a man called him the n-word. Walker is a White man.

Afterward, the officer and bar patrons got into a heated exchange outside the bar where Walker was heard repeatedly using the n-word.

Protesters say law enforcement should be held to a higher standard, and held accountable when wrong.

“It’s not like an average person walking down the street,” Hammond said. “It’s not like just me and you having a conversation off the clock. This is somebody that is on the clock and is supposed to be carrying that badge with respect. And to hear that disrespectful tone and hear that disrespectful word come out of his mouth while he is doing his job, it hurts and it makes us angry.”

He added: “We’ll take this small win. We’ll take it. We appreciate it. We’re not done, though. It’s not over with.”

The Racial Justice Network is a group that was formed in the wake of George Floyd’s death fighting for racial equality in education, criminal justice and the economy. They had announced plans for a protest Tuesday at noon at CPD headquarters before Walker’s firing.

Now that the officer has been fired, it’s not clear if that protest is still happening as planned.

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