CPD Officer Suspended After Use of Racial Slur; Internal Investigation Being Conducted

By August 30, 2020August 31st, 2020Press Releases

At 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 29, 2020, a Sergeant assigned to patrol Five Points entered the business Bar None and found several violations of the Governor’s Executive Order to stop the service and consumption of alcohol. While Sgt. Chad Walker, a 14-year veteran with CPD communicated the order with patrons and employees, a male is heard calling him a racial slur while leaving the establishment.

Afterwards, as Walker and patrons were outside, there was a heated exchange between them, including Walker’s repeated use of a racial slur. The entire incident was captured on Walker’s body-worn camera and citizens’ cell phone video. In order to be transparent, Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook will be releasing the body-worn camera video in its entirety today. As a recognized 21st Century Policing agency, CPD sincerely apologizes for the inappropriate, disrespectful words, behavior and actions of Sgt. Walker.

Chief Holbrook would like to express that he shares the public’s outrage and frustration regarding the highly offensive and disrespectful incident. Chief Holbrook has taken immediate action and has suspended Sgt. Walker without pay from the Columbia Police Department pending the outcome of a disciplinary command review board process which is standard protocol.

Chief Holbrook says, “After reviewing the video from last night in Five Points, it is evident the actions of Sgt. Walker were a clear failure to fulfill the expectations and standards of our Department. The repetition of the racial slur and failure to deescalate the situation were inexcusable.  Our officers are trained to serve as leaders and to deescalate confrontations of potentially volatile situations. Although I am embarrassed and disappointed in the Sergeant’s actions, I was encouraged to see a junior officer intervene and remove Walker from the situation, potentially stopping further escalation.

Shortly after the incident last night, Walker’s commanders immediately recognized that inappropriate actions occurred and as a result, they began an internal investigation and body-worn camera review.

Additionally, Chief Holbrook would like to thank our citizens, community leaders, especially Building Better Communities, for sharing their concerns about the incident.

The Columbia Police Department will continue to work to earn the trust of the community that it serves. The actions exhibited last night are not a true representation of the courageous CPD men and women who proudly wear the police uniform. We will be accountable to the public we serve.