A police effort to enforce a late-night alcohol ban in South Carolina turned ugly over the weekend after one cop was caught on video—recorded by bystanders and also by his own body camera—repeatedly saying the n-word during a heated confrontation with bar patrons. The Washington Post reports that Sgt. Chad Walker entered Bar None in Columbia's Five Points neighborhood on Saturday night to kick customers out for violating Gov. Henry McMaster's ban on alcohol sales and consumption after 11pm, part of the state's efforts to curb COVID-19. On his own bodycam footage, released by the Columbia Police Department on Sunday, Walker can be seen going into the bar and yelling at customers to stop drinking and get out. As one group leaves, Walker says at one point, "And you're a little colorblind, sir," apparently in response to something a young Black man says to him as he walks out.
It's unclear from the tape what the young man said. But once outside the bar, when another patron accuses Walker of treating the Black customer like he was "less than human," an agitated Walker responds, "The gentleman right there that called me a n-----?" Walker then says the slur again, insisting the Black man said it to him—which the young man denies before he's pulled away by others. "He can say it to me, but I can't say it to him?" a belligerent Walker yells at the crowd, after someone says to him, "Can you stop saying that word?" In a statement, the CPD apologizes for Walker's "inappropriate, disrespectful" language and actions, noting he's has been suspended without pay during an investigation. "The repetition of the racial slur and failure to deescalate the situation were inexcusable," Chief WH "Skip" Holbrook says. He adds, however, he was glad to see a junior officer intervene to de-escalate things. (Read more n-word stories.)