Officer Robert Hooker said he recorded the nearly 17-minute clip during an April conversation with former Lexington police chief Sam Dobbins.
CNN obtained the recording from the Mississippi Liberal Democratic Party, which said it obtained the clip from Hooker.
CNN has reached out to Dobbins several times for comment, including leaving several messages at the office and voicemail on his personal cell phone, but has not received a response.
Dobbins told the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, which first reported the story, he was unaware of an audio recording, denied the use of profanity, saying “I didn’t say that” and declined to comment on the alleged shooting.
Sheriff Willie March of the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, located in Lexington, Mississippi, told CNN there was “no doubt in our minds that it was Mr. Dobbins’ voice” in the recording. March spoke to CNN on Tuesday, after he said he had met the mayor of Lexington and the town’s attorney about the clip and what they would do. The town’s attorney, Katherine Barrett, told CNN that Dobbins was fired on Wednesday.
CNN called Mayor Lexington and left a message with her secretary.
Audio recordings include references to shootings
“You’re going to go into some sh*t in the street, and there’s only going to be one man fighting for you, and that person will be me, OK? Never spoil that, okay, because those other people n *** ers, they will let you dry I don’t give af ** k if you kill me * therf ** ker in cold blood… I’ll make it clear to fix the f**king problem , and I’m the only person in the business here smart enough to do that,” Dobbins could be heard telling Hooker.
The sheriff also brags in the clip about killing people throughout his career.
“I shot and killed 13 people on the line of duty,” Dobbins said.
When asked about it by Hooker, Dobbins replied, “Yes, sir, justifiable, man. Ask around.”
Dobbins can be heard claiming that he chased the man in a field and shot him 119 times.
CNN has reached out to Dobbins’ former division at the Humphrey County, Mississippi Sheriff’s Office to corroborate Dobbins’ statement about the alleged shooting, but was unable to reach anyone for comment.
In the recording, Dobbins also uses vulgar and homophobic comments to describe gay people.
Hooker, who is black, is a 20-year veteran of law enforcement who worked for the Lexington police department for four and a half months, and has since resigned, he said.
Hooker said he was initially called to speak to Dobbins to apologize, after Dobbins told him to “shut up and listen” during an earlier meeting regarding a police incident.
Hooker said he believes Dobbins knew he was being recorded, adding that he recorded it on his phone, which clearly showed Dobbins.
When asked by CNN what he would say to Dobbins now, he said, “I’m appalled and hurt by the words you used. I’ve heard harsher words, but not from my leadership. “
He added, “Sheriff, if you come in with a different kind of attitude, you might be what Lexington needs. But trying to get your officers to be as hard-working as you are… I have to turn in command. your brand. don’t believe in doing it this way.”
The sheriff was surprised by the language in the recording
March said he hasn’t spoken to Dobbins about the clip.
“I don’t believe someone like that would be a sheriff,” March said of Dobbins earlier this week, adding that he was “very surprised” to hear the sheriff use racist language and disdain.
“Personally, I’ve never heard him use that kind of saying, use the N-word. Some people have said he uses that language, but I’ve never heard it,” March said. .
According to USA Today, the department’s newly appointed interim police chief, Charles Henderson, who is black, said the new administration has zero tolerance for racism. “We are trying to move forward,” said Henderson.
Dobbins was appointed sheriff by the town council in July 2021.
“[I]n this overwhelmingly black town, the mayor is white. The sheriff is white. The judge is white. The town is run by a powerful white family and the police, led by Sheriff Sam Dobbins, are targeting, harassing and attacking Black citizens”, said JULIAN, civil and human rights organization According to WLBT, CNN affiliate WLBT, residents of Lexington have called on city leaders to hold police accountable for their alleged actions. surname.
Located in Holmes County, Lexington is home to approximately 1,576 people, according to 2020 census data, of which 86% are Black.
“This recording demonstrates that the oppressors are no longer wearing white linens, but in law enforcement uniforms,” said Cardell Wright, who is also JULIAN’s attorney, in a statement.
“Hearing this further confirms what the community has highlighted since Dobbins was hired. The remarks he made are appalling, racist, hateful and detrimental to the welfare of the people. .”
CNN’s Maria Cartaya contributed to this report.