The Pulpit Forum of Clergy of Greensboro and Vicinity

In care of St. Philip AME Zion Church, 1330 Ashe Street, Greensboro, NC  27406 (336) 272‐1301       

January 21, 2010 Mr. Timothy Bellamy Chief, Greensboro Police Department Melvin Municipal Office Building 300 West Washington Street Greensboro, NC 27401 Dear Chief Bellamy: This letter is a follow up to our communication of December 1, 2009 entitled “Citizen Concerns and Requests to the Greensboro City Council, City Manager and Police Chief.” That communication raised six requests to the City Council, to the City Manager and to you as Chief of the Greensboro Police Department. In fact, many of the requests involved police conduct, matters over which you as police chief are responsible. The December 1st communication indicated that we would “send a certified statement to Chief of Police Tim Bellamy with specific questions for which we need answers.” The letter also said, “Our intention is to have a meeting with Chief Bellamy within a week after receipt of the questions.” Before we raise specific questions, we want to provide some background and context. We apologize in advance for the length of this letter but we believe it is important to take the necessary time and space to be as comprehensive and clear as we can. In the spirit of clarity, let us remind you that our December 1st communication was signed by Rev. Cardes H. Brown, President of the Greensboro Branch NAACP, Rev. Gregory T. Headen, President of the Pulpit Forum, and Rev. Nelson N. Johnson, Executive Director of the Beloved Community Center. Since that time Rev. Clarence Shuford was elected as the new President of the Pulpit Forum for the next two years. Therefore, his signature will be added to the other three in this communication. Although we signed in our particular capacities as leaders of different organizations, these organizations share a common vision, and we work closely together. In addition, we are all pastors and members of the Executive Committee of the Pulpit Forum. We ask, therefore, that you respond to this communication via the Pulpit Forum, attention to Rev. Clarence Shuford, at the above address. As you might recall, we appealed to the stated core values of our city: honesty, integrity, stewardship, and respect. Again, we appeal to those same values. Again, we also note the elaboration of the core value of honesty as “being truthful, ethical and principled, being authentic and taking a stand on important principles, disclosing the entire truth.” These
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core values can be tremendously helpful; we hope you will join us in using them as a guide and as an anchor as we work through some difficult issues together. These core values are especially helpful because we live in a politicized, partisan, racialized and highly polarized atmosphere, an atmosphere that all too often distorts, diminishes and dismisses legitimate justice concerns. Unfortunately this atmosphere results in labeling many valid justice issues as “publicity stunts,” or “racial politics,” or just the “vindictiveness” of a few people. We have done our best to anchor the questions we will raise within the city’s core values, as those values are consistent with our faith calling. We pray that you will give these questions your prompt and sincere attention, using those core values as your guide. As you might discern, the issues we raise grow out of many conversations and prayerful reflections with people who have come to us as ministers and leaders in this city. Those who have approached us include citizens who feel victimized by the police department; they include police officers who have deep concerns about what is described as a growing culture of disrespect and double standards for officers within the department; and, they include young people lumped with and identified as gangs as well as those who self identify as “gangs.” Many of these young people feel they are the target of personal hostility, prejudicial attitudes and an unjust “two-tier legal process.” We are humbled that this broad array of people trusts us enough to share their painful stories. We have listened and raised our voices as these concerns have intensified over the month and years, resulting in declining respect for the GDP and brewing an urgent, dangerous situation for all of us. Although often misunderstood and assailed, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are duty-bound to continue to raise our voices. In the last analysis, the issues we are raising are issues of right and wrong, of justice and injustice. They apply equally to all people regardless of race, economic status, ethnicity, or social station in life. We, therefore, ask you to receive and respond to them as justice issues, disclosing the entire truth. Because the questions we are raising are difficult and challenging, they can be misunderstood and/or misused to suggest that we are against the police or the City of Greensboro. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want to emphasize with all sincerity that we are for the police. We know that police work plays an important and vital role in the life of our city. The men and women who do this work are literally charged with life and death decisions as they place themselves in life and death situations. It is because police work is so vital and with life changing implications that we must insure the highest ethical standards, a positive work environment, high quality training, and the very best overall supervision. It would not be fair to police officers, nor to the broad public, they serve, to do anything less. JUSTICE ISSUE QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE INTERNAL OPERATION AND GENERAL ADMINISTRATION OF THE GDP: The assault charges brought against Officer A. J. Blake, the subsequent trials and the post-trial developments provide unusual insights and a bit of a “snapshot” of the internal operation of the GPD. These insights may well apply to all phases of the GPD’s operation. However, the statement and questions in this section relate primarily to Officer Blake’s case. During the assault trial of Officer A. J. Blake during the spring and summer of 2009, the lead detective in the assault case, Detective Schwocho, stated that he brought charges against
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Officer A. J. Blake because he was ordered to do so by his commanding officer. The detective’s comments were made in open court and reported in the news media. Were you aware that Detective Schwocho was ordered to file charges that he felt he did not have adequate evidence to support? If you were not aware of this, then why not? Given that the lead detective did not feel that he had sufficient evidence or probable cause to charge Officer Blake, why was the detective compelled by his commander to bring charges? If you were aware that Detective Schwocho was ordered to bring charges against his best judgment, could you have intervened to prevent the charges from being filed? Does the act of ordering a detective, trained in gathering evidence (who presumably has more information than anyone else), to file charges against anyone, when that detective feels there is insufficient basis for criminal charges, raise any ethical or legal issues for you? Officer A. J. Blake was accused of assault and was in the process of preparing for a jury trial in Superior Court in the late summer of 2009. Ten days prior to the officer’s case being heard in Superior Court, you conducted Officer Blake’s internal administrative hearing, which was primarily based upon those same criminal charges. The administrative hearing, convened under your direct leadership, resulted in the termination of Officer Blake. Yet, several days later a jury of six men and six women found Officer Blake not guilty. What were the compelling, legitimate reasons for holding the administrative hearing before the Superior Court trial, where it was possible, and indeed likely, that more information bearing on his case would be made available? What damage could have been done to the GDP or to a fair administrative hearing for Officer Blake by waiting ten days for the completion of the trial? Before Officer A. J. Blake’s case in 2009, there were at least two other officers that were indicted on felony charges, Officer Fox and Officer Saunders. You allowed both of their criminal processes in Superior Court to be completed before conducting their administrative hearings. Why did you wait until their two trials in Superior Court were completed before holding their administrative hearings? Were there compelling, legitimate reasons in the cases of Officer Fox and Officer Saunders to wait until after their Superior Court trials were completed before holding their administrative hearings? If so, what were the reasons, and what made the circumstances different from A. J. Blake’s case? Are you concerned about double standards within the GPD? Is it not reasonable, in your opinion, for officers of the GPD to be concerned about double standards? More than forty (40) days after Officer A. J. Blake was terminated, using the appeal process for the GPD and the City of Greensboro, he was reinstated by Mr. Robert Morgan, Interim City Manager. At that time, as the Interim City Manager, Mr. Morgan was the city’s highest ranked employee, with all powers of hiring and dismissal. Upon the reinstatement of Officer Blake by Mr. Morgan, however, certain GPD officers released a statement to the Greensboro News and Record that appeared in one of its October 2009 issues. A portion of that statement read, “We wish to let the public know our disagreement with this decision and our deep disappointment with City administration in not investigating this matter correctly, if at all. Good officers have continued to do their jobs every day despite these criticisms. We will continue to do so. However, it makes it extremely difficult when uneducated decisions such as this put people who are not fit to serve back on the police force” (emphasis added). These officers used the
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news media to publicly disagree with the Interim City Manager’s decision, essentially accusing him of “not investigating this matter correctly” and going further by questioning “if (an investigation was done) at all.” Further, they accused the City Manager of “putting people who are not fit to serve back on the police force.” Were you aware that statements such as these were to be made publicly? Did you authorize or encourage that any such statements be made by or on behalf of a group of GPD officers? If you were not aware and you did not authorize or encourage that these statements be made, are you in agreement with them? Are these statements in violation of Department Directives 1.5.1 General Conduct, 1.5.2 Conduct towards Public and Employees, 1.5.9 Malicious Gossip and Criticism, 20.3 News Media Relations? If these statements are not in violation of one or all of the above quoted Department Directives, please explain why? If they are in violation, what actions have you taken? Is there an investigation underway to determine what officer or officers are responsible? What is the status of the investigation? Following Officer A. J. Blake’s reinstatement by the Interim City Manager, an officer was quoted as saying that he would not provide assistance to the reinstated officer. If made, do you consider this statement a threat to the safety of Officer A. J. Blake? If made, do you consider this statement a threat to the public safety of Greensboro? If made, do you consider this statement the declaration of a work stoppage? If made, do you consider this statement a violation of Department Directives? In light of all the possible weighty implications of this statement, have you made any effort to determine whether such a statement was made and to identify the officers(s) that made these statements? If so, what is the progress of your investigation? If you have not made any effort to identify the officer or officers who made the statements would you accept assistance in determining the officers responsible for the statement? Once Officer A. J. Blake was reinstated, upon returning to the Department to make arrangements to begin regular work he was reportedly called “a piece of Sh_t” by Captain Wolf. This occurred in the presence of Officer Blake’s fiancé and a subordinate sergeant who was with Captain Wolf at the time. Officer Blake has filed a complaint providing the details of this encounter. This should be available to you. Are you aware of this reported incident? If made, do you consider this statement a violation of the City’s core values or any department directives? If made, what in your opinion of the impact of such a statement on the work environment/culture within the Department by an officer at least five grades higher than Officer Blake? Have you conducted an investigation? Has the investigation been completed? If so, what were the findings and what actions were taken? Information has come to us that derogatory paraphernalia regarding Officer A. J. Blake and Deputy City Manager Robert Morgan was placed on walls of the Western Division Substation. This information included Officer Blake being called “unfit” and the Interim City Manager being
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accused of making “uneducated decisions.” Officers also displayed information that they would not respond to assist Officer Blake if called. Given this kind of behavior: How would you characterize the work environment of the reinstated officer? What specific steps have you taken to stabilize and make the work environment of this officer safe? What is the relationship of the treatment of Officer Blake and his work environment of apparent double standards, threats, etc. and the 39 other officers who have brought a legal suit against the city? In the Thursday, October 8, 2009 edition of the Rhinoceros Times, a group of police officers are pictured in their GPD uniforms while attending a closed-door meeting of the Greensboro City Council. The meeting was specifically called for council members to discuss a decision made by then Interim City Manager Robert Morgan to reinstate Officer A. J. Blake to his job. The article stated that the officers were there to show their displeasure with the reinstatement of Officer Blake. Were you aware that these officers were planning to attend the council meeting to express their disagreement with the Interim City Manager? Did you direct or in any way encourage officers to attend this particular meeting? Is the attendance of these officers in uniform for the expressed purpose of showing their disagreement with a decision made by their superior and of opposing that decision a violation of GPD directives? If the behavior of the officers is not in violation of GPD directives, please explain why not? If the behavior is in violation or if it is unclear whether it is in violation or not, has an investigation been undertaken? If so, what is the status or the outcome of the investigation? During your tenure as Greensboro Chief of Police, one of your officers committed a violation of your departmental directives. This individual was reprimanded; however, he still had a hearing with Training and Standards as they contemplated revoking his state law enforcement certification. You were present at the hearing and spoke on behalf of this officer, attempting to convince the Training and Standards Board that although the officer had made a mistake, he was still of value to the City of Greensboro as a police officer. You now have Officer A. J. Blake going before the Training and Standards Board on February 18, 2010. Officer Blake was found not guilty in a court of law. He was reprimanded for a departmental violation. He has been reinstated to the department. Will you attend the February 18th hearing and speak on behalf of Officer A. J. Blake as you have done in the past when an officer was reinstated? If not, would you please explain why not, including the specific factors or considerations that are influencing you not to speak on Officer A. J. Blake’s behalf? Officer A. J. Blake shared publicly that he filed several complaint that involved anti-Latino discrimination, attitudes and/or behaviors. There have been conflicting reports on the number of complaints filed and/or their disposition. How many complaints did Officer Blake file, alleging any form of anti-Latino discrimination or inappropriate behavior? What is the disposition of those complaints? Do you feel that there is any relationship between a hostile attitude towards Officer Blake by certain officers in the GPD and the allegations of anti-Latino attitudes and/or behaviors?
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In July of 2009, Rev. Gregory Headen, then President of the Pulpit Forum, called you on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Forum and asked if you would meet with the Pulpit Forum. You immediately agreed, and a date was scheduled. Several days later you returned a call and left a message that you were prepared to meet with Rev. Headen and others but not if either Rev. Nelson Johnson or Rev. Cardes Brown was in the Forum delegation. The Forum lodged, in letter format, a complaint with the Mayor and City Manager regarding your behavior. We subsequently had the meeting with about 12 members of the Forum, including Rev. Brown and Rev. Johnson. What prompted you to make the decision to attempt to exclude Rev. Johnson and Rev. Brown from the scheduled meeting? If, as you stated in the subsequent meeting, you did not want to meet because you felt the meeting was about A. J. Blake and you were not prepared to discuss that, what did that have to do with Rev. Brown and Rev. Johnson? Further, why did you not simply share your preference not to discuss Officer Blake rather than seeking to exclude Rev. Johnson and Rev. Brown? Did you assume that no one in the Forum was concerned about the A. J. Blake case other than Rev. Rev. Brown and Rev. Johnson? Do you see your request to exclude these two members of the Pulpit Forum as interfering in the internal affairs and disrespecting the integrity of the whole Pulpit Forum? During your tenure as Chief, City Council Member Mike Barber expressed the conviction that there were corrupt officers in the GPD. He used the phrase “potato heads.” Based on our investigation, “potato heads” meant not only corrupt officers, but also certain officers that were troublemakers. At one point you addressed the Council with respect to this issue. Did you have any specific view of whom or what Councilman Barber was referring to? Did you concur with Councilman Barber’s view that there were problems of corruption in the department (from the context we can deduce that Councilman Barber meant significant and/or widespread corruption)? If you concurred, what did you do, if anything, to expose the corrupt officers, to restore community trust, or to significantly address the publicly expressed issue of corruption within the department? Concerns have been shared with us about how administrative investigations are handled in general. We have learned that the GPD has a policy requiring notification of outside employment by GPD employees. Is there any specific time requirement related to notification of outside employment/work? For example, are police employees required to seek approval from the appropriate GPD officials prior to seeking outside employment? Or, are police employees required to notify the appropriate GPD authorities at the time outside employment is obtained; or, is there a specific time period after outside employment is secured in which notification is required? How many violations of the outside employment policy notification have been sustained during your tenure? How many supervisors were found in violation of the policy? Were there any supervisors allowed to make notification of outside businesses or employment after their business or employment had begun without receiving sanctions? Were there other supervisors or officers denied the opportunity to make notification of preexisting businesses or work without sanctions?
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If so, under what circumstances were some police employees allowed to submit late notification without sanction and others were not? During your tenure federal funds were received to investigate cold cases. Concerns have arisen about the use and management of the funds. How much federal funding was received to investigate cold cases? How many cold cases were investigated? How many cold cases were resolved? How was the decision made on what cold cases would be investigated, and how were these monies allocated and spent? Is there an accounting process that will show in a specific way where the funds were spent? Our information is that the Professional Standards Division reports directly to you as Chief. It has come to our attention that certain administrative investigations were improperly altered, without adequate evidence to substantiate the recording of different conclusions. Are you aware of the allegations of altering administrative reports without documented new evidence to support any new findings? Do you (or did you) concur with this approach? If you do not concur with this method, have you investigated these allegations and, if so, what were your findings? A number of complaints have been made, alleging slanderous coverage of certain police officers by the Rhinoceros Times. Selective personnel information, assumed to be illegally released from GPD employee files, has also been printed by the Rhinoceros Times. There is a legal suit pending against the Rhinoceros Times related to this matter. Some of this information has damaged officers’ reputations and has placed the community in a position such that many have lost faith in the GDP. Do you agree that some of the personnel information printed by the Rhinoceros Times was illegally released and printed? Has there been any investigation to determine the source of the privileged personnel information that was given to the Rhinoceros Times? As Chief of the GPD what actions, including legal remedies, have you taken to address the allegation of personnel information being distributed and printed illegally by the Rhinoceros Times? JUSTICE ISSUE QUESTIONS RELATED TO WORK WITH "GANGS”: In order to appreciate the meaning of the questions to follow, it is necessary to set the context. In June of 2008, it was our privilege to meet a group called the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN). Since meeting this organization of young people who classify themselves as a “nation” and who are classified by the GDP as a “gang”, we have been impressed with their efforts to change their lifestyles. We have worked rather closely with this group for over 18 months. Although plagued by some lingering bad habits, bad relationship with police, and economic deprivation growing from their past and current circumstances, we have found them, especially their leader Jorge Cornell, to be honest with solid integrity, strong commitment and unusual resilience. As opposed to the stereotypical image of stealing and robbing, they work hard on labor-intensive jobs; they share their limited resources with each other in the spirit of community.
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We saw the ALKQN as a God-given opportunity and as a challenge to do constructive work with a broad cross section of marginalized young people, many of whom are engaged in destructive life styles and some in criminal activities. In the first several months we made considerable progress. With the leadership of the ALKQN and the support of the Pulpit Forum , six organizations (at least four of whom would be classified as gangs) met and formed a process for peace, including a plan to do constructive work among youth in the city. Since the public announcement of the peace process by the ALKQN, they have undergone a continuous withering assault from the GPD, especially by the Gang Unit. The long list of arrests, trials, and intimidations has made it extremely difficult to carry forth with the peace and community building process. We have done our best to communicate openly with you and to work with you as Chief. We have also sought to work with the Gang Unit and the GPD in general. We have held at least four meetings between police leadership, city leadership, and community leadership to explain what we were trying to do. In addition, we have had a number of individual or phone conversations with you as Chief. We have written a draft proposal called “A Paradigm Shift.” This proposal outlined a way for us to work together with the purpose of promoting community safety, community justice, and community building. However, time after time, we have felt betrayed as the Gang Unit continued to bring frivolous charge after frivolous charge against the young people of the ALKQN, the overwhelming majority of which were thrown out of court or defeated in court. Many of the most outrageous examples of abuse and mistreatment have been filed with the Human Relations Department. A partial record is on file there for all to see. Also, we have enclosed a partial list of the more than 78 charges recently brought against members of the ALKQN. We are still seeking to work with the ALKQN. At some point, it may be helpful for some of the ALKQN to gather with a cross-section of community leaders, including police and city officials to share more completely their story. In this section we will raise a few questions that might be helpful in clarifying the current situation as it relates to the ALKQN and gangs in general. We hope these questions will help establish a more positive direction that includes promoting community safety, community justice-making and community building. Has violent gang activity in Greensboro increased or decreased in the last two years. Can you provide statistics (real numbers and percentages of increase or decrease) in the last two years (2008 and 2009)? To what do you attribute the change, whatever the change is? In a meeting with four ministers from the Pulpit Forum in the fall of 2008 you shared that the ALKQN was not considered a violent group (“gang”) in Greensboro. Do you still hold that view? If not what has caused the change? In the last two years how many criminal charges have been filed by the Gang Unit that were classified as gang related? How many of the gang related criminal charges brought by the Gang Unit in the last two years were against persons not a part of, or primarily identified with, the ALKQN? In the last two years how many criminal charges have been brought against Jorge Cornell? How many of the criminal charges brought against Jorge Cornell during this period resulted in convictions? We have enclosed a document entitled “A Listing of Some of the Harassments Including Unjustified Criminal Charges against the ALKQN.” We have asserted on numerous occasions
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that the volume of arrests has resulted in bleeding dry the limited resources of these young people, i.e. paying bail bondsmen, lawyers, etc. Even when they were found not guilty, they still had to spend scarce funds. Moreover, they were continually being projected as criminals, causing them to lose their jobs and, in some cases, lose their dwelling places. When they have found work, Gang Unit members have visited their jobs and, in at least one case, have falsely stated that a certain person was banned from working on city property. This trend first came to our attention in the summer of 2008 when we learned that Gang Unit members visited the homes and jobs of those who knew or were in some way associated with the ALKQN (see the July 2nd and July 3rd entries in the enclosed document). Have you investigated the December 2009 case of Wesley Williams that involved Gang Unit member Watkins visiting Williams’ work site and falsely informing his employer that Williams was banned from working on city property? If the investigation is completed already, what actions have you taken based on the investigation? Are you aware that Officer Watkins, who visited Williams’ work site and shared false information, is the object of many claims of unjust treatment by members of the ALKQN? Officer Watkins is recorded on tape saying in substance that it does not matter how many complaints are made against him that it will have no effect? Would you like to have a copy of the tape? Does the city’s core value of honesty (the other core values are integrity, stewardship and respect) apply to the Gang Unit? If not, is it clearly spelled out when it is permissible for members of the Gang Unit to lie or deliberately promote falsehoods? Are you aware that the Gang Unit visited both the homes and jobs of family and/or friends associated with the ALKQN as far back as 2008, inquiring about charges that did not exist (see the July 2nd and July 3rd entries in enclosed document)? Do you consider such visits to jobs, causing people to be dismissed and leaving them without an income for their livelihood, to be the legitimate work of the Gang Unit? Have you considered that this kind of activity might push the members of ALKQN and others toward criminal activity? On January 12, 2010, the National Public Radio (NPR ) reported that gang violence in Los Angles was considerably down and that this was due in part to the police working with former and current gang members, including squashing rumors that pit one gang against another. In the fall of 2008 we presented to you, City Manager Mitchell Johnson and the Human Relations Commission a draft proposal called “A Paradigm Shift.” The proposal outlined a way for the Police, the Pulpit Forum, Gangs, the School system, and the community to work together with a view towards making use of “gang” as a resource for community safety, community justice and community building. We have received no response from you. What are your views on the “Paradigm Shift” draft proposal? As a draft proposal, do you consider it a worthy beginning to build upon? Has the proposal been shared or discussed with the Gang Unit? Do you have any specific ideas that can improve the draft proposal? Are you willing to give the draft proposal a positive recommendation and to work with us toward its further development and implementation?

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JUSTICE ISSUE QUESTIONS THAT PRECEDED YOUR TENURE AS CHIEF: Chief Bellamy, we are fully aware that many justice issues preceded your tenure as Chief by many years and some preceded your employment in the department. You inherited a police department in crisis. In this section, we want to gain deeper insight into the state of and some of the practices within the GPD while you were in a leadership role but before you became Chief. In the summer of 2005, officers made various complaints against the David Wray Administration. The City subsequently hired Risk Management and Associates (RMA) to investigate the police administration. The report prepared by RMA validated many of the complaints. The city stood behind the report at that time. Related to the findings in the RMA report, there were resignations and abrupt retirements by several top police officials Have the issues identified in the RMA report been satisfactorily addressed and resolved? If not, what are the key issues that still need to be addressed and resolved? In the period leading up to the hiring of RMA to conduct an investigation, a number of complaints were made by police officers about the police administration. In fact, these complaints resulted in hiring the RMA. Did you as Assistant Chief of the GPD contact various officers in the Department and advise them that there were officers in the GPD that were being unjustly targeted? Did you as Assistant Chief develop questions or help to develop question for various officers to submit to then City Manager Mitchell Johnson in an effort to expose what you felt were discriminatory practices? Did you as Assistant Chief participate in a meeting called by then Chief David Wray that resulted in various recommendations to alter a related administrative report? If this did occur, was there additional investigation that produced new findings to support the alteration? Were you and others who participated in the above-referenced meeting given different colored pens to represent the person who was making the change(s)? It is our understanding that the investigative practice of “line-ups” is based upon the people in the line-up exhibiting a reasonable likeness to the description of the person alleged to have committed the crime. It has been widely reported that the “Black Book,” which was at issue during the end of Chief David Wray’s tenure contained 19 photographs of African American officers who were reportedly on duty during the time that a reported sexual assault occurred. Further, information indicates that officers in the photo line-up had a range in age of at least 20 years, ranged in height from approximately five feet five inches tall to six feet and five inches tall, ranged in weight from approximately 170 pounds to approximately 390 pounds, in skin complexion from very dark-skinned to very light-skinned, and had a combination of full heads of hair to completely shaved heads. In your opinion does the array of differences described above fit within the range of reasonable likeness in appearance? Is such a broad range of appearances the proper way to assemble a line-up? If it is, would not such a broad range almost insure that the only criteria of distinction in the line-up of criminal suspects would be race or gender? Was the woman who made the claim of being sexually assaulted by an African American police officer (in or around the 2004 period) already working as an informant for the Special Intelligence Division and/or the Vice Narcotics Division at the time that she made the claim?
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If so, was that alleged incident and related claim the reason for creating the photo line-up mentioned above? Are the Special Intelligence Division and/or the Vice Narcotics Division still operational? If not, why were they dismantled and/or why are they not currently operational? As you have probably discerned, a considerable amount of time and effort has been put into gathering information and framing the related questions in this document. The questions we have raised with you are not just our concerns, we believe they reflect the public’s concerns and are, therefore, the public’s issues. They bear on the quality of life in our city. Information that translates into knowledge is one of the foundations of democracy. It is, therefore, our moral and democratic duty to figure out a way for the public to be meaningfully involved in the probing of these questions and engaged in the truth and justice issues toward which they point. In our opinion, there can be no better time to rekindle the fires of truth and justice than on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Sit-In Movement, a great movement for truth and justice by grassroots people. In raising these truth and justice issues, we are seeking to stand in the best tradition of the Sit-In Movement. It was indeed a movement meant to affirm the dignity, worth and potential of all of God’s Children, especially the least among us. At the end of the day, however, truth and justice are in the best interest of all people, regardless of how it might look or feel at any given moment. So in doing this work, we see ourselves standing for your best interest, as we also stand for the true greatness of all of Greensboro. While we know you cannot give us a full written report in seven days, as we indicated earlier, we will be in touch with you within seven days after you receive this communication (probably by phone) to schedule a time to meet. We are very anxious to clarify any of the questions that may be confusing or even inappropriate and to speak to any concerns you might have, including concerns about us. We hope we have not misrepresented or distorted the context of any of the concerns that we have raised. If so, we would want to make the necessary correction before such information spreads. Our deepest desire is for truth and justice; it is in this spirit that we want to facilitate your prompt written response. Thank you very much for your attention to this letter and we look forward to being in touch with you soon. Yours in faith and hope,

Rev. Clarence Shuford
President, Pulpit Forum

Rev. Cardes H. Brown
President, Greensboro Branch NAACP

Rev. Nelson N. Johnson
Executive Director, Beloved Community Center

Rev. Gregory T. Headen
Former President, Pulpit Forum

 

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