Nearly 90 cases handled by fired WPD officers dismissed or under review

Gavel on wooden block
Gavel on wooden block(Gray News)
Updated: Jun. 25, 2020 at 7:27 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County District Attorney is in the process of either dismissing or reviewing around 89 pending cases connected to three officers terminated this week from the Wilmington Police Department.

On Wednesday, Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams announced the firing of veteran officers Michael Kevin Piner, Jesse Moore, and James Gilmore. According to documents released by the Wilmington Police Department explaining the terminations, all three men are on police recordings involved in racially insensitive conversations. Officers Piner and Moore are both on tape making explicit racist and violent comments, including the use of the n-word.

After learning of the recordings, which were taken by accident and uncovered during a routine WPD audit of police video, District Attorney Ben David announced he would be reviewing all pending cases in which Piner, Moore, and Gilmore were the arresting officers.

“Since learning about the terminations, my office has undertaken a review of all cases where these officers were the primary charging officers. These cases were dismissed [Wednesday] and the individuals charged will be notified by mail of these dismissals in the coming days,” David said.

Of the 89 cases, 24 were Piner’s, 32 were Moore’s, and 33 were Gilmore’s. Many of the cases involved misdemeanor larceny, shoplifting and traffic violations. Some were more serious, including felony larceny cases, an assault on a female case, and at least one case of felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

On Thursday, David said his office was still reviewing the more serious felony cases.

“With respect to cases that have already been resolved: If anyone feels that they had an interaction with these three officers that led to a charge due to the officer’s bias, we encourage those individuals to bring this to the attention of their defense attorney so it can be examined by our office. We are willing to look at these claims on a case-by-case basis and evaluate their merits,” a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office added.

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