GREENSBORO — A Greensboro police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave just weeks after marching in a parade with an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a black nationalist, hate group, sources said.
On Oct. 26, Lt. Stacy Morton was seen with members of Israel United In Christ, a group of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.
The movement believes that African Americans are the chosen people of God and the true descendants from the 12 tribes of Israel.
According to the SPLC, the group is anti-police and believes "white people are 'the devil,' Jews are 'fake Jews' and members of the LGBT community are 'sinners.'"
It was that same rhetoric, captured on a social media video, that the group shouted into microphones from a tent to any passerby at N.C. A&T's homecoming. Morton can be seen throughout the 40-minute video tent behind the speakers.
White supremacist Tom Metzger, founder of the the White Aryan Resistance organization, called the group "the black counterparts of us," the law center said.
Police have not confirmed that Morton was placed on administrative leave because of his participation with the group during homecoming weekend.
"He's been placed on administrative leave while waiting for us to adjudicate an internal investigation," said Ron Glenn, spokesman for the police department.
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's office in 2004.
He currently oversees the vice/narcotics division.
Glenn offered no other details.
The Southern Poverty Law Center named three black nationalists groups based in Greensboro as hate groups during 2018: Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge, Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ and Nation of Islam.
The Black Hebrew Israelite movement gained national attention earlier this year when Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann was captured facing off with Native American activist Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. 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.
And though the SPLC acknowledges that most Hebrew Israelites are not racist, anti-Semitic or advocates of violence, 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.