GREENSBORO — A Greensboro police officer is no longer employed with the department, the agency’s spokesman said Friday, less than two months after the officer was seen at N.C A&T’s homecoming with an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a hate group.
Lt. Stacy Morton, 46, was separated by a special order signed Thursday by Chief Wayne Scott, said Ron Glenn, the department’s spokesman. He said Morton did not resign.
Glenn would not discuss the circumstances behind the separation, but he said Morton has 10 days to appeal the chief’s decision.
Morton had been on paid administrative leave since mid-November during an internal affairs investigation. Police would not release details about the focus of that investigation.
Glenn said Friday that the investigation has concluded.
The administrative leave came just weeks after Morton was seen with members of Israel United in Christ, a group of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.
That movement believes African Americans are the chosen people of God and the true descendants from the 12 tribes of Israel.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group is anti-police and believes “white people are ‘the devil,’ Jews are ‘fake Jews’ and members of the LGBT community are ‘sinners.’”
The Black Hebrew Israelite movement was in the news this week after police in New Jersey said that 57-year-old David Anderson expressed interest in the group and made both anti-police and anti-Semitic comments on social media posts before, authorities said, he and a woman fatally shot four people in Jersey City, N.J., on Tuesday.
The group also made news earlier this year when a photo captured Nick Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky., facing off with Native American activist Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Sandmann told media outlets that he and his classmates were trying to overpower hateful comments being made by Black Hebrew Israelite protesters who were also present.
While the Southern Poverty Law Center acknowledges that most Hebrew Israelites are not racist, anti-Semitic or advocates of violence, it said there is a rising extremist sector within the movement that thousands have joined.
The law center said that in 2018, the hate group’s leaders used people’s fear, during a climate of racial divisiveness, as a recruitment tool.
Morton’s involvement with the group remains unclear, but he was seen throughout a 40-minute video with members of Israel United in Christ. Members of the group preached the group’s rhetoric to passers-by throughout the video.
Morton joined the Greensboro Police Department on March 16, 2000. He was suspended and discharged in 2003 for hitting a man in the chin during an arrest. He appealed his termination and it was overturned by the city manager.
Before Morton was put on leave last month he oversaw the vice and narcotics division. His annual salary was $81,900, Glenn said.