Police officer fired after telling black men they ‘don’t belong’ in his city
A cop working in a town of less than 3,000 people didn’t recognize the two black men in the car in front of him, so he followed them until they pulled over and introduced themselves, according to Demarcus Bunch’s account of the incident he caught on video on July 21.
Bunch and his cousin Shannon Scribner were back in their hometown of England, Arkansas, which sits about 15 miles southeast of Little Rock. They say they were there to record a music video.
But the most attention-grabbing line they recorded that day wasn’t in their video. It was one that spilled from the mouth then-England Police Officer Mike Moore.
Moore asks Bunch, in the video Bunch posted to Facebook Tuesday, if Bunch is recording him, after scoffing at the pair’s attempt to ease the tension of the situation by telling Moore that they are the nephews of one of Moore’s colleagues.
After Bunch answers, “yes,” that he is recording the encounter, Moore lets loose with the line that got him fired Wednesday.
“You know why?” Moore asks the pair. “Because you don’t belong in my city.”
Bunch responds by telling the officer that the two men are “from here,” but that comment only seemed to interrupt Moore’s lecture.
“You understand I know who my people are, right — that I know who belongs here, who doesn’t?” Moore continues. “We’ve got gang wars going on. We’ve got all kinds of stuff.”
Bunch told McClatchy he turned the video over to police on July 23. It wasn’t until he put the video on social media and started taking interviews, though, that Moore was fired.
“He knew I was recording, so the fact that he still went there shows me he just didn’t care,” Bunch said. “We just had to collect ourselves in that moment. We didn’t want to give him the energy or the fight it seemed like he wanted.”
Moore was fired Wednesday, according to KTHV. He had been fired from the nearby Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office before being hired, then fired again, from EPD.
“It is not a race issue, it is a personality issue,” Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley told the station. “He was terminated from Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office because he couldn’t get along with other officers and other agencies,” Staley said.