Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

THE MESSAGES WE SEND.......

The targeting of African American officers within the Greensboro Police Department and authorized by Chief Wray was truly misguided and has no place in our City. Attorney Joe Williams and Lt. Hinson each make statements posted at the News and Record website.

I usually have a few phone calls on every side when these kinds of events happen in Greensboro. I am mistaken for a City Council member or as a former Commissioner they believe I have some authority over the situation.

Yesterday I received several angry calls defending Chief Wray. Today I received a couple of calls angry that this kind of targeting could happen in the 21st Century.

When I spoke before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission I made the point that something needs to be done to bridge the mistrust between the African American community and the Police Department. For those who saw that as not a problem, this example shows there is a very long way to go.

I have friends who are police officers, African-American, and White. They want to uphold the law and serve and protect our citizens. I appreciate the diligence and leadership shown by our City Manager Mitchell Johnson in dealing with a very complex and difficult situation.

I still want to hold off and get more information to fully understand this situation. BUT, this kind of institutionalized racism has no place in the Greensboro and in the vision and mission of of law enforcement community. I urge City Leaders to take action quickly and decisively.

Councilwoman Sandy Carmany shared additional information and I appreciate her follow-up to the public on this matter.

4 Comments:

  • You say you want to hold off before making judgment but the rest of your piece sure doesn’t sound like you are waiting. David Wray explained that that book was compiled to investigate an alleged “groping” of a female by a BLACK police Officer. That being the case would you expect pictures of WHITE officers to be in it? As for not reporting it I am sure the police department does not report every little case to the county officials. Dear Lord if they did the city manager wouldn’t have time to 'manage' he would be too busy reading police reports! When you say you are withholding judgment Mr. Thigpen then you really should, as an ethical person, do so, and not add to the “Mobs” outcry to figuratively lynch this man. Brenda Bowers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 AM  

  • Hey Jeff. After talking with someone peripherally involved with this issue (I will not say who) I would also say we all need to wait for additional information before definitely concluding racial profiling has occured and that lots of other bad things happened in the last few months. That's not to say some bad things haven't occured but it's too soon to really say one way or the other.

    However you make an excellent point that some of these conclusions have already been reached by many folks because of misunderstanding and lack of trust between some segments of the community and the police dept. I say some because we're all too quick to assume that any time a few folks of a particular ethnicity discuss an issue it's often assumed that everyone else of the same ethnicity feels exactly the same way. That goes for blacks, whites, hispanic, asian, you name it...

    By Anonymous Mike K., at 4:01 PM  

  • I am sure I need to be wise about my statements. There may be additonal information yet to surface. Yet there is in my opinion an appropriate level of judgement based on what I know and I will not wait to express it.

    The "alleged" groping of a female by a black officer should not have led to the accumulation of 119 names in a black book. That, to me, is not the appropriate way to investigate such an allegation. What does it say about the strength of the allegation? Maybe I need more information on the allegations. Where is the black book in standard operating procedures, internal affairs, etc. In addition, the denial of such a book and the deliberate conceiling of the book from the City Manager is not compelling me to take a 'wait and see' attitude. Can someone explain it to me?

    There may be additional information out there and Mike K. your source may light another fire. I'm more than willing to reconsider my opinions. But based on what I know right now, my conclusion is: THIS HAS NO PLACE IN OUR CITY.

    By Blogger Jeff L. Thigpen, at 10:16 PM  

  • Hey Jeff. I'm not saying these issues aren't serious but I don't want folks assuming everyone even peripherially involved in this conversation had ill intent and definitely was involved in something as negative as racial profiling. It seems that the process so far has been a good one and hopefully everything can be resolved in a timely and professional manner that achieves and amenable solution for everyone.

    You make good points and these are definitely issues that need to be considered further and addressed as necessary.

    By Anonymous Mike K., at 4:36 PM  

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