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‘I Don’t Say This In Public’: Top Kentucky Jail Official Secretly Recorded Casually Using Racial Slurs, Now He ‘Sincerely Regrets’ His Comments 

A white Kentucky jailer was caught on tape using racial slurs and chauvinistic banter months before re-election for his second term. This new discovery, secretly filmed after hours, will not only impact his campaign but be entered as evidence in a discrimination case filed by his former employees.

Paul Watkins (WDRB Screenshot)

According to WDRB, Paul Watkins, the elected official for the Bullitt County jail, regrets using the N-word during a secretly recorded conversation he had with former Bullitt County Sheriff Dave Greenwell and an acquaintance of the two men on March 3.

During a 64-minute conversation, called by Watkins to gain support for his upcoming election and apologize for firing Greenwell in 2020, the trio discussed his career, county politics, the validity of his legal woes, his infidelity, and his relationship with the African-American community. 

Over the hour, he used the word n**ger six times.

The recording will be used in a whistleblower lawsuit against Watkins filed in 2021 by two former employees who used to work for him at the Bullitt County Detention Center in the Louisville suburb.

Watkins said he was intimately connected to one, as one of his relatives is married to a “n**ger.” He explains, “I’m saying this, like, to you all. I don’t say this in public. “See, my granddaughter’s married to a f**king n**ger and he is a n**ger. There’s a thing — there’s a difference between a Black guy and a n**ger, and this bastard…”

The jailer, who assumed the position in 2019, talked about his opinions on interracial relationships like the one his granddaughter is in, saying, “I mean, I know I’m old school, but I ain’t never seen the like of all this s**t. Have you all? And then you watch TV, and you see f**cking n**gers and a f**cking white woman, all kinds of s**t.”

Former workers have accused the senior citizen of racism and created an atmosphere for a toxic and hostile work environment.

Grace Smith, a Black woman who worked for Watkins in the past, called him “extremely racist.”

“He tried to hide it, but when you’ve been racist for a long time, you don’t hide it very well,” she said in 2021. “The jailer was a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t believe in following rules.”

Smith and former co-worker Carl Reesor filed a joint lawsuit claiming Watkins racist and sexist language to oppress his employees while on the job.

On the March recording, Watkins references this lawsuit and the two by name. He is heard calling “that f**king Black b**ch” and “f**king n**ger b**tch.” 

One claim Reesor made last year was about his former boss’ disdain for Asian people.

“He talked about how he hated Chinese people. It was to the point we thought he was kidding, and we’re all kind of looking at each other,” he remembered. “Then we find out he’s serious.”

Watkins also addressed these comments on the recent recording, rhetorically asking Greenwell and Miller, “You know why I’m prejudiced?”

He answered himself, “That f**king Black B**ch has heard me say that I don’t like Chinese people. Well, see, [WDRB reporter] Valerie Chinn is Chinese.” Chinn is actually multi-ethnic, half-Chinese and half-Vietnamese.

Another former employee Sherrie Thompson filed a separate lawsuit alleging Watkins is “chauvinistic” and creates a hostile work environment for women.

Thompson’s lawsuit was settled by Bullitt County for an undisclosed amount, but there are at least three pending hostile-workplace complaints Watkin is fighting.

A former internal affairs captain at the jail named Britny Costa, who worked only six months (January to June 2021) at the facility, said Watkins discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation.

“You don’t see that kind of treatment to white males in that facility,” Costa opined. “You never have any problems with white males. It’s either a female or someone of color or different background.”

“Me being with a female, he’s made it very clear that he does not agree with my lifestyle or my partner’s,” she said. “He’s made it very clear to others using derogatory statements, fa**ots, d**e. It’s just very degrading.”

Previously, Watkins addressed the notion he is racist, pointing to his biracial grandchildren and his alleged hiring record of Blacks in the 96 percent-white town.

“I’ve got more Black employees now than we ever had. Every one of the motherf**king would go to bat for me today,” Watkins boasted on the tape. “I guarantee they would.”

In addition to the racialized and sexist comments found on the tape, Watkins revealed intimate details about his actions during his late wife’s last days.

“I was f****** this girl whenever [Watkins’ wife] was on her deathbed,” Watkins reflected on his spouse who died of a COVID-19-related illness in 2021. “Now, she’s a very good friend of mine, and actually, I know this sounds corny, but I really needed somebody.”

At a certain point in the recording, Watkins gives an assessment of himself, “I know I’m not the greatest mother***** in the world.” 

Greenwell taped the conversation, with the intention of showing the world the type of person he was and preventing him from hurting more people with his actions.

“I’d like to see a lot of people that were hurt by him over the years — they were very good people. It was Black and white people,” he said about why he recorded and released the footage. “They certainly didn’t deserve what they got. There’s people there that were about ready to retire. I mean really close, two or three years until retiring and had been there and done a fine job.”

In the recent recording, Watkins apologized to Greenwell for firing him when worked under the jailer after resigning from his position as sheriff. He said the termination was out of duress leveraged by a court superior, County Judge-Executive Jerry Summers.

“(Carl Reesor) had private meetings with Jerry Summers in closed doors. Yes,” Watkins confessed to Greenwell. “And it was mainly about me and about firing you, that n**ger b**ch Grace (Smith). She had all these years of experience. She didn’t know s**t about s**t.”

Summers said this was untrue, saying Watkins’ comments are “inexcusable” and recommending he resign.

His attorney Carol Petitt said in a statement Watkins was under stress when he made the comments on the recording, “A private conversation between colleagues has been released that was secretly recorded while Jailer Paul Watkins was enduring a period of personal stress and it contains disparaging comments.”

“These inappropriate comments in no way reflect how Jailer Watkins considers the individuals mentioned,” she contends. “He sincerely regrets descriptions and comments used.”

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