For the second time, Alderman caught on camera making racist slurs

WSMV4 Investigates looks into how one man was caught on camera using racial slurs.
Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - For the second time, a Portland alderman has been caught on camera making racist slurs.

After being exposed for making a racist slur in February, additional police body camera footage obtained by WSMV4 Investigates shows an elected city alderman in Portland making more racist slurs.

The police body camera footage also appears to show Alderman Thomas Dillard making a threat to his neighbor Edwin Campos, who is Puerto Rican, in front of police.

WSMV4 first exposed how Dillard using a racial slur to describe Edwin in February, over an ongoing dispute over dogs.

Since then, Edwin and his wife Kelly, who is biracial, said tensions have increased.

In late August, police were called by Dillard on complains of noise violations by the Campos family.

While police were out front, the Campos’ four boys, who are all biracial, were in the backyard.

Cell phone video, recorded by one of the Campos sons, shows someone standing in the Dillard’s backyard, flipping off the children and making monkey noises at them.

When officers approach Dillard out front, body camera video shows the suggestion that Dillard made for how to handle Campos.

“Somethings got to give,” Dillard says in the video.

“I gotcha,” the officer replies.

“Or, you can get him over here,” Dillard begins, before a woman standing next to him tell him to be quiet.

“Shut your mouth,” she cautions.

But Dillard continues, saying, “Out in the road. Across this property line.”

“Hold up man,” the officer warns.

The video shows officers then going over to talk to the Campos family about the noise complaints.

In the body camera footage, you can hear yelling coming from the Dillard property.

“He’s also screamed out racial profanities,” one of the officers tells the Campos family.

While it’s hard to make out in the video, officers detailed in the incident report that Dillard yelled from his side porch, “F****** porch monkeys!”

A copy of the police report involving Edwin Campos and Thomas Dillard.
A copy of the police report involving Edwin Campos and Thomas Dillard.(Portland Police Department)

Kelly Campos said she heard the slur as well.

“How are you going to be a city councilman but calling out minorities monkeys and stuff?” Kelly Campos told WSMV4 Investigates.

“My kids go up and gotta see this? All the time? What are going to do, go back to ancient times when they used to hang people? Hang black people?” Edwin Campos said.

The body camera footage shows that police then returned to tell Dillard that he was to stop making racial slurs.

“You yelled racial profanity,” an officer tells Dillard.

“Racial profanity?” Dillard asks.

“Yeah,” the officer says.

“What is that?” Dillard responds.

“I know what a racial profanity slur is, yes,” the officer says. “That is disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct.”

Campos then laughs.

“You do it again, you’ll be going to jail,” the officer warns.

“Get the f*** off my property,” Dillard tells the officer. “Get out of here dude!”

“Do not yell racial profanities,” the officer warns him.

While Dillard had no problem repeatedly yelling at his neighbors and police, he walked away from our camera when we approached to ask about his language.

“I want to ask you about your recent comments to your neighbor,” asked WSMV4 Investigates.

Dillard was standing on his front porch when we arrived and closed the door.

“A shame, and Portland should be ashamed,” Kelly Campos said.

Neither Campos nor Dillard were cited in the incident.

WSMV4 Investigates will be at the City Council meeting in Portland on Monday to try and speak with Dillard, his fellow councilman and the mayor.

We’ll have the latest tonight at 10 p.m. on WSMV.

If there’s something you’d like the WSMV Investigates team to expose, you can tell us about it here.