County Commissioner Allegedly Bullies Dispatcher

County Commissioner Allegedly Bullies Dispatcher (Reporter: Brannon)

WASHINGTON - A Beaufort County commissioner was heard allegedly bullying a 911 dispatcher.

Here is the entire recorded conversation:

Dispatcher: "Beaufort County 911, where is your emergency? Hello?"
Hood Richardson: "Round black woman walking down the middle of the…"
Dispatcher: "You saw a…"
Hood Richardson: Inaudible
Dispatcher: "You saw a black woman walking down the middle of the street?"
Hood Richardson: "Hello?"
Dispatcher: "Yes, this is the Sheriff's Office. Can I help you?"
Hood Richardson: "You've got a 300-pound black woman walking down the middle of the street in front of Frank's Pizza with a blind stare."
Dispatcher: "Okay, let me transfer. Do you have uh…"
Hood Richardson: "You can just deliver the message."
Dispatcher: "No sir. I'm going sir, I want you to…"
Hood Richardson: "I'm Hood Richardson, Beaufort County Commissioner. You'll hear about this tonight if you don't get off your butt and do your job!"
Dispatcher: "You've got a black woman that's walking down the middle of the street at Frank's Pizza correct?"
Hood Richardson: "That's right."
Dispatcher: "Okay and what is she doing? And you said something. Does she have a blonde wig on?"
Hood Richardson: "A blind stare walking down the yellow line."
Dispatcher: "Thank you. I'll pass it along."
Hood Richardson: "Bye."

Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson called the sheriff's dispatcher Monday afternoon, to report a woman walking in the middle of the street in downtown Washington near Frank's Pizza. The problem was that the woman was walking within Washington city limits.

According to Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan, it's standard procedure for sheriff's dispatchers to transfer their 911 calls to city dispatchers if they are within the city limits. But when the dispatcher told Commissioner Richardson she was going to do that, he appeared to become angry.

Afterwards, the dispatcher at the sheriff's office agreed to deliver the message to the city dispatchers, then the call ended.

Sheriff Jordan said the dispatcher was following procedure and didn't deserve that kind of treatment.

"Not only did [Richardson] refuse to be transferred, he began to berate my dispatcher and threaten her," Jordan said.

However, Richardson doesn't feel like he did anything wrong. He said he was just doing his job as a citizen and as a county commissioner.

"I'm not sorry that any of it happened. I would do the same thing again. I'm doing my job," Richardson said.

Sheriff Jordan, however, felt like Richardson went too far.

"When it comes to my people they are off limits to him. They are not his people," Jordan said.

After hearing the 911 recording on Friday, Richardson explained he thought the dispatcher was "clicking a button" on purpose to mess with the phone call.

"I felt like somebody was playing with the line," he said.

Sheriff Jordan disagreed with Richardson about the "clicking" noises on the phone call.

"It's ridiculous to think a dispatcher is going to sit there and interfere with an incoming 911 call," Jordan said.

Richardson, for his part, believes this incident will only help his re-election campaign. He said he stands by his statement and would say it again if he needed to.

Sheriff Jordan said dispatchers often have to deal with strenuous situations, including "obnoxious phone calls like the one from Hood Richardson. [But] regardless of how objectionable he was, how rudely he treated her and how he was trying to bully her, she did her job and she did it professionally and I'm proud of her."

Chris Yu contributed to this report.

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