Mike Moore is the Arkansas policeman who reportedly told a group of African American men, “You don’t belong in my city.” One of the men, Demarcus Bunch, filmed the encounter with Moore when it happened back on July 21. Bunch posted it to his Facebook account on Tuesday, August 7. You can watch the video clip here.
All this took place in England, Arkansas, a small town about 30 miles from Little Rock. On Wednesday, August 8, the police chief of England announced that Officer Moore had been fired.
Here’s what you need to know about Officer Mike Moore:
1. Moore Followed Bunch and His Friends Because, He Said, He Had Never Seen Them Before
As the video opens, DeMarcus Bunch and his friends are walking over to talk to Officer Moore. They introduce themselves and shake his hand. Then Bunch says, “We just noticed you’ve been following us everywhere.”
Moore doesn’t deny that he’s been following them. He says, “You know why? Because you don’t belong in my city.”
The young men seem taken aback and Bunch says, “How? We’re from here.”
“But you understand I know who my people are right?” says Moore. “Who belongs and who doesn’t. We got gang wars going on, and all kinds of stuff. And I come from the big city, where this stuff’s small.”
“You said we don’t belong in your city, though?” asks Bunch.
Moore replies, “You dont. I have never seen you before, and I know almost everybody here.” Bunch protests that he grew up in England and graduated from England High School.
“Well, good for you,” says Moore. “My name is Mike Moore. And I’m not from here.”
2. Last Year, Moore Was Also Fired From the Lonoke Police Department For His ‘Bad Attitude’
Moore held jobs in at least four police departments before coming to England, Arkansas. He started out his law enforcement career at the age of 44, in Greenville, South Carolina. By all indications, Moore did well in Greenville. He was named Rookie of the Year by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. He eventually rose to become a lieutenant in charge of 20 community service officers in Greenville.
Moore also worked for 10 months in the Simpsonville, South Carolina police department.
For reasons that are unclear, Moore left South Carolina 10 months later and moved to Arkansas. He got a job in the Lonoke County police department. But Moore was fired from that job in 2017 because of his “bad attitude.” There aren’t any details available about what that “bad attitude” was like.
The England Police Department fired Moore just hours after the video of him and Bunch appeared on the local news.
3. A Former Cop Filed a Separate Complaint Against Officer Moore After Moore Pulled Him Over
Bunch and his friends aren’t the first to complain about Officer Moore. Rizelle Aaron, a former England police officer and NAACP member, filed an official complaint with the England police department after being pulled over by Moore. Aaron, a Little Rock resident, said he was in England in October for a homecoming football game. Moore stopped him as he was driving down the street.
Aaron says that Moore told him he had been following someone around with his headlights on. He denies this and said Moore had no probablye cause to stop him. Aaron filed a complaint with the England police department.
Before coming to England, Moore was fired by the Lonoke County police department for his “bad attitude.” The Lonoke County Sheriff, John Staley, said that there were no signs that Moore was a racist. “It is not a race issue, it is a personality issue. He was terminated from Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office because he couldn’t get along with other officers and other agencies,” Staley said.
4. Bunch, Whose Uncle Is a Cop, Handed His Video to the England Police Department But Grew Frustrated When the Department Didn’t Take Action
Bunch and his cousin, Shannon Scribner, were in England to shoot a music video. Bunch grew up in England and graduated from England High School. When the two men noticed that Officer Moore was following them around town, they decided to film him instead of making a music video. They said that from the moment they arrived in England, Moore seemed to be following them. At one point, while they were shooting part of their video, Moore parked nearby and didn’t leave until they decided to move on.
After their interaction with Moore, Bunch said he was saddened, and wanted to do something about it. He and Scribner have an uncle — Dale Scribner — on the England Police Department, so, after discussing it, the men handed their video over to Chief Powell in the hopes that she would hold Moore accountable. But they grew frustrated when, two weeks later, they hadn’t heard any news. That’s when Bunch posted the video to his Facebook page.
The video quickly went viral and aired on local TV news. On Wednesday, the police department issued a statement saying that Moore had been fired.
5. England’s Pastor David Drayer Said Maybe Moore Needs to Go Back to the Big City
England is a small town; there are only 2,800 residents. Some 65 percent of residents are white and 33 percent are black, according to the latest census. Pastor David Drayer of Word of Faith Christian Church in England said that, contrary to what Officer Moore says on the video, there is no “gang activity” in England. He said that Moore “might need to go back to the big city” where Moore says he is from. (It is not clear which big city Moore was referring to in the video.)
Drayer has been praised for working to unite people in England, Arkansas. But he says that even he doesn’t know everyone in the town — and he doubts that it would be possible for a newcomer, like Officer Moore, to know everyone, as he claims to on the video.