Police Accountability & Professionalism

It should not matter how poor you are or what color you are or what group or “gang” you are in or whether you were born in the U.S. or whether you are an immigrant – all should be treated with respect, all should be treated fairly, and all should be afforded equal protection of the law.  Nothing less is acceptable.

No city or community can be truly great unless it upholds these basic principles.  It is recognized that any police department or any organization will commit errors and make mistakes.  But police departments in particular should have a sound system of public oversight so that mistakes and errors are quickly corrected.  Unfortunately, Greensboro has never had a truly workable civilian oversight process.  Consequently, over the years, the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) has developed a well entrenched culture of “corruption and double standards.”  By culture of corruption and double standards, I do not mean simply one or two corrupt people.  Rather, what has emerged is a deeply entrenched way of life, a system of corruption and double standards within the GPD.  This has been reflected in 39 lawsuits filed by officers of color, the firing of five African American and Latino officers, the firing of a city manager, the abrupt resignation of a police chief, and the ruling by a federal court that found Greensboro police officers jointly liable for wrongful death along with members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party.  Yet, police officials and city council members are in denial about the extent of the culture of corruption and double standards within the GPD.

Police Accountability & Professionalism

It should not matter how poor you are or what color you are or what group or “gang” you are in or whether you were born in the U.S. or whether you are an immigrant – all should be treated with respect, all should be treated fairly, and all should be afforded equal protection of the law.  Nothing less is acceptable.

No city or community can be truly great unless it upholds these basic principles.  It is recognized that any police department or any organization will commit errors and make mistakes.  But police departments in particular should have a sound system of public oversight so that mistakes and errors are quickly corrected.  Unfortunately, Greensboro has never had a truly workable civilian oversight process.  Consequently, over the years, the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) has developed a well entrenched culture of “corruption and double standards.”  By culture of corruption and double standards, I do not mean simply one or two corrupt people.  Rather, what has emerged is a deeply entrenched way of life, a system of corruption and double standards within the GPD.  This has been reflected in 39 lawsuits filed by officers of color, the firing of five African American and Latino officers, the firing of a city manager, the abrupt resignation of a police chief, and the ruling by a federal court that found Greensboro police officers jointly liable for wrongful death along with members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party.  Yet, police officials and city council members are in denial about the extent of the culture of corruption and double standards within the GPD.

No one should be mistreated or abused or falsely accused by the Greensboro Police authorities.

Since its inception in 1808, the Greensboro Police Department has been instrumental in maintaining social order, just as any law enforcement agency across this great nation.  Based on its standing as an industrial, blue collar center, the role of the Greensboro Police Department has historically been to support the programs and plans of the financial powers of the city.  As a result, the Greensboro Police Department, has always been questioned as it relates to a lack of fairness, and double standards relating to enforcement or non-enforcement actions. The contrasts of police action, between the affluent and the poor, the White and the minority, the passive and the vocal, are astounding and well documented.

The victims of the GPD double standards and lack of professionalism are usually the poor, disenfranchised, minority persons, or anyone who seeks to question the actions of the police. Those that merely question police actions are targeted, both inside and outside of the GPD.

There are many dedicated and committed police officers in the GPD.  They come from all different races and ethnic groups.  But culture is a strong force in life that pulls and compels people into compliance with its own standards and practices.  There were thousands of wonderful and committed southern whites in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s but the power of the “segregationist” culture made it difficult for these committed whites to cross the line toward racial justice.  Fortunately, a few brave whites during that period did cross the line and stood up for justice, but they paid a price for it.  They became the objects of attacks and ridicule.  That is the type of cultural atmosphere present in the GPD now.

Some recent corrupt actions taken by the GPD are the following:

39 minority officers are suing the City of Greensboro and the GPD regarding a “black book” with pictures of black officers utilized as a tool to produce charges of misconduct against minority officers.

The Chief of Police wrote a derogatory e-mail to a citizen proclaiming that he (chief) would not respond to the citizen. Upon complaint, no investigation was conducted.

The current GPD Chief orchestrated a police operation to arrest two law abiding citizens to quell their freedom of speech. The targeted individuals were informed by GPD officers. No investigation of this complaint occurred.

The Former City Manager place a falsehood regarding a citizen in an official document, and used this information to terminate a minority officer.

They were held overnight because they had supposedly been drinking. The young men were not charged with any traffic offense, DWI, drinking charge, given a breath test, roadside test, or even asked if they had been drinking.

An example of the GPD’s targeting of Mr. Cornell includes him being charged with 18 felonies and not being convicted of one of the charges.

This was because he wrote grievances alleging discrimination.

The officers merely filed complaints of discriminatory treatment within the GPD.  It was revealed that the GPD Professional Standards Division (Internal Affairs) section actually “fix” investigations (to produce their desired outcome), and in some cases, ignore complaints, providing no investigation at all.

We need Professionalism, Accountability and oversight of the Greensboro Police Department to regain trust. This change will not come from city administrators, but must come from the citizens.  Many of our leaders become compliant to the political wheel, and will not address the GPD problem that continues to worsen. Administrators use intimidation, retaliation and altered investigations against those (citizens and employees) who speak out.  These tactics can only be successful if the citizenry tolerate and condone such.  Only a mass movement, an organized public push, will be strong enough to change the stubborn culture of corruption and double standards within the GPD. Positive change comes through being accountable, fair, just, professional and answering for any action that any officer takes.

Until change occurs, there will never be trust in the Greensboro Police Department. Together, we can make a change. We can make GPD better for all citizens and for Greensboro.