Pastors Cite Racial Discrimination in Police Captain Suspension
Yasmine Regester, Special to the NNPA from the Carolina Peacemaker
Police Discrimination Claims Get Weirder
John Hammer, Rhino Times
Yasmine Regester (YR)...A press conference regarding the recent actions taken by the Greensboro Police Department against Captain Charles Cherry was held June 24 by the Pulpit Forum at New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Greensboro.
John Hammer (JH)...Rev. Nelson Johnson...and Rev. Cardes Brown...accused Greensboro Police Chief Tim Bellamy of using a double standard and discriminating against black officers based on race.
Bellamy, who is retiring at the end of this month, is black.
...Assistant Police Chief Ron Rogers, in a lawsuit dated June 14 against the City of Greensboro and City Manager Rashad Young, accused Bellamy and Young of discriminating against him because he is black.
Young is also black.
The only higher rank is chief, and the chief is also black...
...Since 1987, Greensboro has had a white police chief for a total of 2 years and six months.
...except for Wray, all the police chiefs for the past 23 years have been black and they apparently have been discriminating against fellow black officers.
The situation that Johnson and Brown called a press conference about was...police Capt. Charles Cherry, who has been placed on administrative leave pending a "fit for duty" evaluation.
(YR)...Cherry was placed on administrative duty on June 7, pending a Fitness for Duty evaluation based on the following reasons: 1. writing and submitting grievances on behalf of several officers; 2. an inability to accept reasonable responses from department supervisors, and 3. his physical reactions in front of subordinate employees.
...Cherry sent an email to his employees on June 17 giving the reasons why he was placed under evaluation via the recommendation of a Bureau Commander. He also provided explanations of his actions. Cherry was accused of writing and submitting grievances from several officers who expressed the need for his assistance in writing such grievances. In the memo Cherry states that doing so was not in violation of Departmental Directives or city policy, however, it was one of the reasons provided as to why he is undergoing a Fit for Duty Evaluation.
(JH)...According to a prepared statement...Cherry was suspended in part for filing grievances for four other officers and for filing other grievances on his own behalf.
...What was more interesting was a long rambling statement that Nelson said Cherry read most of at roll call, or line-up, at the Maple Street and Swing Road police stations. The current memo notes that after Cherry was suspended he then showed up to read his statement about his mistreatment at line-ups at two police stations...
...The fact that Cherry thought reading such a statement to the men that he commanded is disturbing.
(YR)...The pastors of the Pulpit Forum are citing racial discrimination and double standards within the GPD, which they say is the basis of the content in the submitted grievances. In a press statement released by the Pulpit Forum the pastors state, “This devious and unconscionable action is about covering up the culture of corruption and double standards within the GPD, pure and simple. It is a retaliatory measure…”
They also do not believe that hiring a new police chief will help alleviate the situation and are concerned the city will try to sweep the issues out the door with Police Chief Tim Bellamy when he retires on July 31.
The Pulpit Forum has written letters to the city manager’s office with a list of 97 questions addressing issues they believe need to be discussed publicly by the police department.
...Rev. Cardes Brown of New Light Missionary Baptist Church and president of the NAACP Greensboro branch, has been quite vocal in addressing members of city council as well as Mayor Bill Knight. Brown had been a supporter of Police Chief Tim Bellamy when Knight made a statement during a political forum in 2009 that he believed the chief only got his position because he was Black.
At the press conference, Brown stated that he owed Mayor Knight an apology for challenging his statement.
“I first challenged the statement because of Bellamy’s credentials. But now I do believe that Bellamy was made chief because he was Black and he could be used to show favor on the force. I believe Bellamy was willing to go along with things requested of him,” said Brown.
(JH)According to Johnson and Brown, Cherry was being discriminated against by Bellamy because of race.
Brown, during the press conference, did offer an apology of sorts to Mayor Bill Knight, whom he had earlier criticized for saying that Bellamy was hired as police chief was because he was black. Brown said, "Moreover, I am inclined to agree that he [Bellamy] was only made chief because he was black and would show favoritism to the majority on the police force."
Johnson added that Bellamy was made chief because he was willing to be compliant and "that he was black made it move convenient."
(YR)According to Johnson, city manager Rashad Young has a stack of grievances currently on his desk and the majority of them were filed by Blacks and other minorities. Under city policy, Young is required to respond in a timeframe of 20 days per complaint filed…
(JH)But because Cherry was suspended and is black, it was, according to Johnson, Brown and Cherry, a racist move blamed on Bellamy and Young, who are also black.