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Greensboro Justice Summer Media Release
The Greensboro Police Department Out of Control
For Immediate Release:
Contact:
Rev. Nelson Johnson, Beloved Community Center Rev. Cardes Brown, Greensboro NAACP Ms. Jordan Auleb, Guilford College Student and Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative Rev. Joseph Frierson, Greensboro Truth & Community Reconciliation Process (336) 230-0001 (336) 273-5579 (415) 601-1151 (336) 601-3449

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

 Officer A.J. Blake is once again suspended WITHOUT PAY AND
RECOMMENDED FOR TERMINATION.  We reiterate the call by NAACP State President Dr. William Barber for Federal and State investigations of the Greensboro Police Department (GPD).  The Beloved Community Center, Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative, the Greensboro Branch NAACP, and The Pulpit Forum have launched “Greensboro Justice Summer 2010, an intense campaign to engage and root out the sub-culture of corruption and double standards within the Greensboro Police Department (GPD).
In a blatant disregard for truth and the suffering that they cause, leaders of the sub-culture of corruption and double standards within the Greensboro Police department (GPD) have suspended without pay and recommended for termination Latino Police Officer A. J. Blake. The explanation given for Officer Blake’s suspension and the recommendation for termination is that at a June 2, 2009 press conferences Officer Blake spoke “malicious criticism and gossip” and made statements that were “inaccurate and incomplete”. As this document will make clear, all the statements made by Officer Blake were accurate and true. None of them constituted “gossip”. Officer Blake read from a prepared statement. The statements were made in the context of Officer Blake defending himself against a bevy of false charges and ongoing public slander growing largely from inside the GPD and that continue until this day.

The Action of the GPD’s Subculture Of Corruption and Double Standards Is Objectively An Attempt To Overthrow The City Mangers September 2009 Decision to Reinstate Officer Blake To His Job After Being Fired By Police Chief Bellamy and Later Acquitted Of All Charges In Superior Court.
Acting Division Commander Lt. J. A. Hunt who replaced Captain Charles Cherry (Captain Cherry was himself removed th from his job because of an already disproven “fit for duty” evaluation status.) states in the July 12 “Disciplinary Action Recommended” document that Officer Blake “demonstrated a continuing and ongoing pattern of poor judgment." All the charges alleged against Officer Blake in Lt. Hunt’s July 12th communication that supposedly constitute an “ongoing pattern of poor judgment” are unfounded and were fully known before he was reinstated to his job by Acting Greensboro City Manager Robert Morgan in September of 2009. Although harassed, slandered and picked up off the street during his off time and brought before Assistant Chief Anita Holder where he was threatened with termination on totally false charges (which have since been dismissed), Officer Blake has completely and thoroughly complied with all that he was asked and required to do by Chief Bellamy and other supervisory personnel. There is no “continuing pattern”. No records can be produced to substantiate any post reinstatement “continuing pattern”. This is an absolutely false statement. In fact, no complaints have been sustained against Officer Blake after being reinstated by Acting City Manager Robert Morgan. The decisions and recommendations communicated by Lt. Hunt constitute an attempted OVERTHROW of the City Manager's decision of September 2009. We deliberately use the word “overthrow” to

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draw the public’s attention to the declining role of civilian authority which is increasingly intimidated by police authority. It will be shameful if the sub-culture of corruption and double standards within the GPD is allowed to get away with this unconscionable and retaliatory act.

Although More Than a Year Old, All The Allegations Against Officer Blake are False:
The GPD alleges that Officer Blake was guilty of “malicious criticism and gossip,” by making statements that were “inaccurate and incomplete,” and that these statements constitute “an ongoing pattern of poor judgment.” We have looked at the evidence and we are thoroughly convinced that all the allegations against Officer Blake are false. The GPD mentions several specific examples from a June 2, 2009 press conference. We will quote from that press statement: #1 Sergeant Sizemore stated that “he wished that Jorge Cornell had been killed: The actual statement made by Officer Blake was: “Once when I was interviewing Cesar Herrera, a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN), I was interrupted by Officer Sizemore who took over the interview. Officer Sizemore began shouting at Cesar and said that he wished that Jorge Cornell, the leader of the ALKQN who had been recently shot, had been killed. It was not said in a joking manner. This statement is true. There is nothing misleading or inaccurate about it. The context is clear. Sergeant Sizemore admits making the statement but says that he was joking. How can a statement like that possibly be a joke! Further Sergeant Sizemore made the same statement at another time to another person. #2 Sergeant Sizemore said that his image of a gang member is a Latino Male. The actual statement of by Officer Blake was: “Over the last eighteen months or so the Greensboro Police Department’s Gang Unit has had a stepped up focus on gang activity. This has been focused mainly on Latino gangs. When I indicated that there was other more serious gang activity than the harassment type activities in which we were engaged, Sergeant Sizemore said that his image of a gang member is a Latino male.” This statement is simply true. Sergeant Sizemore was one of the more intoxicated officers involved in manufacturing the false charges against Officer Blake which have been defeated in court. This statement is also consistent with Sergeant Sizemore’s so-called “joking” statement that he wished Jorge Cornell had been killed. #3 That Greensboro Police Officer Christopher Schultheis shot and killed an unarmed African American male: The actual statement by Officer Blake was: In April of 2008 Greensboro Police Christopher Schulthesis shot and killed a 22 year old black man, named James Paschal, Jr. Officer Schulthesis was the only witness to the incident. He said that James Paschal, Jr. would not follow orders to remove his hand from his pocket and that he kept walking towards him; therefore he shot him nine times. It turned out that James Paschal was not armed. There were other tools that Officer Schulthesis had available to him to contain Mr. Paschal, including pepper spray. Officer Schulthesis killed an unarmed man who was a distance away from him for advancing on him in an aggressive manner. He was not charged with a crime. I pushed a person who was within inches and who was advancing on me in an aggressive manner, yet I was charged with assault. It is clear that Officer Blake was attempting to point out the double standard. There might be those who disagree that there are double standards within the Department. However, there is nothing in the statement that is factually inaccurate, and clearly the statement was not meant to be a complete report on the incident. #4 That Sergeant Hafekaneyer and Officer Ashley Brown used anti Latino slurs in my presence: The actual statement by Officer Blake was: “In 2006, I filed a complaint against Sergeant Hafekaneyer for describing Latinos as “wetbacks” and for saying that we all looked like illegal aliens to him. I also filed a complaint against Officer Ashley Brown. He said that because I am from Honduras I must be a gang member and that he considers everyone from Honduras to be a gang member. Although it has been denied, this statement is true and accurate. If a reasonably objective observer could examine the content and the context of the statements made more than a year ago by Officer Blake that are now being used against him, they would find the statements to be factually and contextually true. Further, they would find the behavior of certain GPD personnel to be vindictive, vicious and retaliatory. The sub-culture of corruption and double standards within the GPD is desperate and is engaging in unreasonable and unjustified behavior.

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The magnitude and meaning of these outrageous actions against Officer Blake can only be fully appreciated within the context of his standing against anti-Latino slurs and double standards. Consider that Officer Blake was charged with two counts of simple assault in January of 2009, suspended from his job without pay, and subsequently fired by Police Chief Timothy Bellamy. He was acquitted of both charges in July of 2009. In the course of fighting these false charges, he was slandered, ridiculed and humiliated by elements of the sub-culture within the Police Department. Also he and his six-year old daughter were economically depleted. In spite of doing pick up work, he lost his home. After a rigorous eight-month effort and outcries from the community, the Greensboro City Manager overruled the Chief, reinstating Officer Blake to his job. Officer Blake returned to an extremely hostile work environment where he was called a piece of “sh-t” in front of his fiancé by Captain Wolf. Some officers stated that they wouldnot provide back-up for Officer Blake, if he ever called for help. Additionally, demeaning and slanderous statements about Officer Blake were written on the walls of a police sub-station. A group of white police officers – in uniform – even came to a Greensboro City Council Meeting and vehemently and publicly opposed the City Manager’s decision to reinstate Officer Blake, calling him ” unfit” for duty. This seems a clear, public act of insubordination to their superior, the City Manager, about which nothing has been done. Further, the myth has been maintained that Officer Blake has some kind of inappropriate relationship with the Latin King leader Jorge Cornell. Officer Blake was hauled in during his off time because of this socalled relationship with Cornell and was threatened to be fired on these false relationship claims. Having been reinstated Officer Blake recently accumulated enough money to sign a lease for an apartment and now he finds that he is once again without a job and without income based on false charges. This is evil. Greensboro is a better city than this to allow a wink and a nod at this kind of behavior. Once again, we will say what we have been saying over and over again. We are convinced that the great majority of officers with GPD want to do their job and want to do it well. However, the sub-culture of which we speak is a major problem that is grinding up some of the best police officers within the department. We are not against the police. We are for the police and the need for good police work. We are opposing with all of our strength the sub-culture of corruption and double standards that has taken over the leadership of the department and has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation as it systematically retaliates against those who raise legitimate grievances and those who try to stand against the sub-culture of corruption and double standards. The safety and well being of the citizens of Greensboro, especially the poor and people of color, are being put in greater danger by the behavior of the sub-culture within the GPD. This city is headed down a dangerous road. The city leadership, including the Mayor and most members of the City Council, are in denial about the magnitude and meaning of the problem. We reiterate the request made by State President of the NAACP that Federal and State authorities launch an independent investigation into the status of the Greensboro Police Department. In response to the continued corruption, lying, and attacks by GPD on its members who have done no wrong, we fully launched our “Greensboro Justice Summer” Campaign. Included in our plans are two public hearings on police misconduct. This will give the public a chance to share, within a safe atmosphere, any complaints against the GPD. We invite all the residents of Greensboro to join us in this undertaking.

Finally, we call upon the City leaders to end their state of denial and assume responsibility for helping to guide the city out of this deepening crisis.