Fired GPD officer alleges he was told to remove video about George Floyd – Yes! Weekly

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They said I violated the departments social media policy, but not specifically how, said the recently fired Greensboro police officer Jaquay Williams in a phone interview on Thursday. Williams also alleged that Internal Affairs told him to take down his May 27 TikTok video about the May 25 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

In that video, which has been reposted multiple times to YouTube, he is identified only as Officer Williams. He wears his uniform and sits in his police car, but his badge and name tag are obscured and nothing associates him with Greensboro. In the course of the 59 second video, he makes the following statements.

I am disgusted with the things that happened in Minneapolis. Pure and point-blank, things could have went way different. At the end of the day, lets talk facts: Guys on the ground. Hes laying on his stomach. He had handcuffs on. Its four of yall, one of him. Four of yall, one of him. Who has control of the situation? Its not much one person could do against four people.

Now, lets get deeper, right? As an officer, you are a first responder, right? So, if in the midst of you trying to gain compliance, someone is hurt, you have to render aid. So, if somebody is saying, I cant breathe, I cant breathe, I cant breathe, you dont think to yourself, Oh, my gosh, this guy cant breathe, he might die? Let me render aid? Right? Officers other officers if youre going to be standing there and not help when things go wrong, come on! Like, you dont see that? Like, thats the reason I got behind this badge, right? Because them officers thats afraid to step up, I want to be the one to step up. If I see wrong happening, wrong is not happening in my presence. Im going to check it.

On TikTok, the video received over 5.4 million views, over 1.6 million Likes, and over 46,000 comments.

Williams told YES! Weekly that those comments were overwhelmingly positive. All I got was a good response, even from cops. To the GPD, I say, the ball was in your court, you could have made a chess move and done this differently. You were afraid of the publicity, but now you have too much publicity that you cant handle.

He also said that, within hours of the video going viral, he received a phone call from Internal Affairs.

I went down to talk to them. They were like, you should not be posting in your uniform. They put an email in front of me from the chief that was super vague. It said dont do anything to hinder or stop the police, which of course I did not do. They said we are opening an investigation into your social media and you should remove the video.

Williams told YES! Weekly that the department had been aware of his TikTok videos when they hired him on March 1, 2019.

They already knew Id been posting my thoughts and opinions and stuff. Also, I do music. Theyd seen that before I was even hired. I talk about thought-provoking things, depression, anxiety, racial equality. I didnt attack white people or cops. I didnt say anything to break the directive.

He said that, per departmental policy, his social media was monitored weekly, and that he had been doing videos in uniform for a month before this one went viral, and the department seemed to have no problem with that. Then the George Floyd thing happened. It affected me. Being human and being upset, I went on TikTok and spoke about it.

He said he was put on Administrative Leave while Internal Affairs conducted a two-month long investigation into his social media.

Over the course of the investigation, Williams alleged, he was repeatedly questioned on three topics. I posted a song, Hello America, in which I said the only way to be safe is to have blonde hair and blue eyes. They had a problem with that. They also talked about an interview I did on the Tamron Hall show.

The June 12 episode of that Disney/ABC daily talk show featured a panel of six police officers from across the nation who had appeared in social media videos wearing their uniforms, and in which they called George Floyds death murder.

In the episode, he was identified as TaQuay, a 32-year-old police officer from Georgia. He is actually 29. That was their guess based on my social media, said Williams. An ABC11.com article posted on June 12 about the broadcast was later updated to give his real name and department.

On the show, Williams said We work in a predominantly black neighborhood. It's imperative for the white officers to empathize with the black people of the neighborhood, because the trauma that black person is dealing with when you go to a call with them is not the trauma from that day. This is trauma from before."

According to Williams, Internal Affairs questioned him thoroughly about that statement. They talked about it, and the Hello, America video, and the George Floyd thing. They told me maybe a white person would think they wouldnt get a fair shake from me.

According to a press release from Greensboro Police Department, Williams termination was not related to his comments over the George Floyd incident.

Williams disputes that.

If they didnt fire me for the video, ask them why did you fire me? My social media, which youve been monitoring constantly for a year, hasnt changed. Why is it an issue now? Is it because I got a platform?

On Thursday afternoon, GPD public information officer Ronald Glenn emailed YES! Weekly the following statement:

We cannot release any additional information about Mr. Williams. The statement that was released yesterday is the only information that we can release at this time.

Williams said that the reason he was given for his firing was violation of social media and general conduct, without any specifics.

Chapter 16.8.5, page 579-80, of the GPD Directives Manual concerns personal use of social media. It states that Department personnel are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working relationships of this department for which loyalty and confidentiality are important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the department.

It also states speech that owes its existence to the employees professional duties and responsibilities is not protected by the first amendment and may form the basis for discipline if deemed detrimental to the department.

Williams challenged the implication that hed done any of those things. They said I violated the departments social media policy, but not specifically how.

He said he does believe that Chief Brian James stands with me about what he said on his TikTok. Any officer in his right mind would understand that guy did wrong. But, Williams added what about that other stuff? referring to his statement on the Tamron Hall show that, he alleged, Internal Affairs seemed very concerned about.

Williams told YES! Weekly that he was born in Orange, New Jersey, and did not move to Greensboro until August of 2018. I have a brother who lives here. We tried out for GPD at same time. He didnt get on, I did, and was hired March 1, 2018. All my immediate family are police officers, every last one of them. Most of them are in New Jersey.

Williams also said that he had never heard of Marcus Deon Smith, whose fatal hogtying by eight GPD officers at the 2018 North Carolina Folk Festival has been compared to the deaths of George Floyd and John Neville, until he was undergoing his GPD training.

Maybe theyre trying to cool things down because of that. Although I never saw the videos of his death, they did mention it in training, which was the first Id heard of him. They told they had taken away the old restraints used before I was hired, the ones that attached the subjects ankles to their handcuffs, putting them in a hogtie position. They said they didnt use RIPP Hobbles any more, after that man died.

He also had a message for YES! Weeklys readers.

I did not do this to lash out at the Greensboro or any police department. I was just being a human and speaking up on things I felt were wrong. Thats what I got into this line of work for, to stand on whats right and do away with whats wrong.

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Fired GPD officer alleges he was told to remove video about George Floyd - Yes! Weekly

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