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« Foreskin's Lament | Main | Out to dry »

Oct 03, 2007

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The CA

Ed, I read this and as soon as I have time, I will go through it step by step and explain why Mitch should go back to studying physics instead of being a City Manager. His explanations are filled with contradictions and inaccuracies and he still doesn't address the claims that Wray was targeting black officers because of race.

Again, I agree that the documents to support this flawed explanation should be forthcoming.

Ed Cone

There's some pretty straightforward stuff in there, of the "yes or no" variety, so let's skip supposition and potentialities.

Did the State put the Academy's accreditation on probation over allegations Wray had denied to Johnson?

Did Wray mislead his bosses about the multijursdictional investigation?

Did Wray withhold information about internal investigations of Hinson from his bosses?

Did Wray deny to his superiors that SID operated out of bounds, when SID was in fact doing so?

If the answer to any or all of these is "yes," Sam, would you agree that there were legitimate problems with Wray's performance?

There is also an explicit statement from Johnson saying he does not think Wray's actions were "the result of racist beliefs...however charges of racism did occur during his administration and might have been addressed more effectively if he had been willing to take the right steps."

So don't spend too much time fishing for that red herring.

Joe Guarino

Ed, we have already heard credible alternative explanations on the 2nd-4th questions you pose in Bledsoe's series, and these explanations likely represent the views of Wray and/or perhaps other officers involved. We would need that documentation to which you refer to even begin to answer these questions.

The police academy question came out of left field. It has not, to my knowledge, been discussed previously by the city, in a public way, as a justification for pushing Wray out. It makes me wonder whether we are piling on additional explanations because no single explanation rings true.

It should be noted that a fair number of observers who heard the Wray/Johnson audio recently found Wray to be more convincing and genuine.

Ed Cone

Allegedly credible alternative explanations that are "likely" to represent the views of some parties involved?

"A fair number" of people making judgments via audiotape?

These are exactly the kind of arguments we do not need.

Let's stop the speculation.

Johnson has made several clear and direct statements, it would be helpful to stick to fact-based support or rebuttal of those.

Joe Guarino

No speculation, Ed. Merely pointing out that alternative interpretations and explanations are already out there, and we cannot presume that Johnson is the most credible player here. I agree with you that we need the facts, and have been calling for the release, as you have, for a long time. But it is Johnson and the city that have created the barriers toward our having access to them.

jaycee

Mitch Johnson exposes his many assumptions and misinterpretations in his statement. His naivete about management and procedural methods is evident. His inexperience in public service and ignorance of law enforcement matters compounded his misunderstanding of many situations.
It appears to me that Johnson interpreted things in a light most damaging to Chief Wray regardless of the facts or truth.
Johnson appears to have made a conclusion and the sought evidence to support it.
Johnson is the one who needed to leave, not Chief Wray.

The CA

Ed, when you read his explanations, they aren't really clear or consistent. That is either by design or maybe Mitch has a problem processing information, hearing things in ways other than intended or reaching conclusions that aren't really there.

I'm not going out on a limb here, there are some big consistency issues with this explanation that I will detail when I have more time.

Ed Cone

People who are falsely accused tend to defend themselves.

It's one thing for people on the outside to speculate and postulate, but the City Manager has made several straightforward statements in the document linked above.

Straight question: has David Wray made any public statements that specifically rebut the charges laid out by Johnson?

If so, could someone point to those statements so I can post them?

The CA

For example, one big issue that caught my attention early on in this statement:

Johnson says “I did ask Chief Wray for updates on their (Thacker and Wyrick) work...”

But then later says “I was not aware of this work by Thacker and Wyrick until after Wray’s resignation”.

So which is it? Why would he ask Wray for updates on work he wasn’t even aware existed until after Wray resigned? Makes no sense.

He even says he was made aware of the information in the reports as of November 2005, but didn’t read them until after Wray resigned. Makes no sense. His timelines are screwed up.

That is not straightforward at all.

The CA

Funny how Johnson releases his statement late on a Wednesday after the Rhino has gone to deadline for tomorrow's issue...

Bubba

"Let's stop the speculation.

Johnson has made several clear and direct statements, it would be helpful to stick to fact-based support or rebuttal of those."

Yes indeed, let's do just that.

Where is any evidences that substantiates anything Johnson said?

"People who are falsely accused tend to defend themselves."

In David Wray's case, advise of counsel to the contrary takes precedence.

The lesson to be learned by this latest missive is that this whole smear against Wray has no legs to stand on.

"Johnson appears to have made a conclusion and the sought evidence to support it."

Johnson is the one who needed to leave, not Chief Wray."


Exactly, jaycee.

Yet we continue to have the pushback despite the weakness of its content.

Why?

Fred Gregory

This is like living in Wonderland. Off with his head. Off with his head. Verdict first. Trial later.
The Queen of Hearts has spoken. No there there yet the burden is on Wray to prove his innocence wihout a bill of particulars. The goal posts are dancing !

What jaycee,The CA, Bubba and Joe Guarino said.

Ed Cone

Sam,

Your reading of the timeline is simply incorrect.

At the bottom of page six and the top of page seven, Johnson discusses his role in okaying the work of Thacker and Wyrick following the June press conference. He was aware of their work.

He says he asked for updates on their work along the way, was made aware of the report's contents in November, and read them in January. The specific item of which he was unaware until January was that Thacker and Wyrick had cleared Hinson of charges already investigated and cleared by previous investigations.

No discontinuity. I'm sure you will acknowledge this error at once in order to maintain the high standards of accuracy we all agree this issue deserves.

The thing about timing the release of Johnson's statement on a Wednesday is kind of silly, too, unless the City Council had the precognition to schedule its regular meetings on Tuesdays to fox the Rhino...which should have plenty of time to read and react to the report before deadline in any case.

The CA

The Thacker/Wyrick review was started in September 2005. Johnson says he knew of the reports contents in November, but didn't actually read it until after Wray resigned in January. Why/How is that Wray's fault? What Johnson doesn't say is when Wray received the report or when Johnson asked for it.

Assuming your analysis is correct, this question still remains. Further, Johnson's explanation indicates he has problems with clarity in words/wording and it may be that his understanding was quite different than David Wray's through no fault of either. I wouldn't discount that as a possibility.

Ed Cone

Johnson states plainly at the bottom of page six and the top of page seven that he was on board with the Thacker and Wyrick investigation from its inception, and asked for updates along the way.

But you wrote that Johnson said he "wasn’t even aware [the TW work] existed until after Wray resigned."

You goofed. It happens. You enhance your credibility by acknowledging obvious mistakes, and compromise it by trying to wriggle away. Let's move on.

Bubba

"Let's move on."

To what?

Another approach to pushback that won't be any more effective than this most recent one?

Joe Guarino

A couple of points:

First, it was alleged in one of the recent Bledsoe installments that Johnson essentially shut off communication with Wray during the fall of 2005. Their periodic meetings were no longer held according to this narrative. This needs to be considered, and of course, validated.

Second, remember that James Hinson was reinstated at a time simultaneous with Wray's resignation. If Johnson did not read the Thacker/Wyrick report until later, upon what objective basis did he reinstate Hinson? It would have been irresponsible to reinstate Hinson without reading the report.

Ed Cone

Joe, according to contemporaneous reports by the N&R, Hinson's fate was unknown at the time Wray's departure was announced; several days later, the N&R reported that Bellamy had reinstated him.

Meanwhile: Johnson makes several serious and straightforward allegations about Wray's conduct.

If they are not true, then Wray was done wrong. Does anyone have evidence that these specific statements are not true?

I would like to see more documentation from the City, too.

meblogin

The shame is...where is the evidence that they are true? 25 year sterling background vs. Johnson....

Listening to the Wray / Johnson audio...there was only one experienced manager present.

Joe Guarino

Ed, I am not precisely sure on the timeline, but it was for all practical purposes simultaneous. I believe Wray's resignation was Jan 9 06. I posted on Jan 12 06 on the subject, and the defiant Joe Williams/James Hinson press conference had already taken place by then. So the decision had been made to reinstate (we are to believe); it had been communicated to them; and they had time to organize a press conference with other officers present, and all of this occurred sometime between 1/9 and 1/12.

My recollection is that the reinstatement may have been the day after Wray's resignation, but I don't have the specifics at my fingertips. But there was not an interval of several days, because I blogged about the Hinson/Williams press conference three days after the resignation.

Anthony

I just came across this post again. Ed quoted John Hammer as saying:

The Police Chief David Wray resignation story isn't about a black book, although there is a black book in it. It isn't about Greensboro Police Lt. James Hinson or drug dealers, although they are in it. And most importantly it isn't just about race although there are some racial factors that cannot be ignored.

This story is about honesty and trust, and it can be summed up simply: City Manager Mitch Johnson, Mayor Keith Holliday, and [the rest of the Council members] didn't trust former Police Chief David Wray and don't believe Wray was honest with them...

...If everything was on the up and up then why did two of Wray's top officers resign when faced with questions about their activities? If the black book was simply put in the trunk of Bradley's car for safe keeping, why was its existence kept a secret?

According to Occam's Razon, the simplest answer is usually the correct one. In this case the simplest answer is that Wray was, for whatever reason, not honest in his dealings with his boss, City Manager Mitchell Johnson. Any other explanation involves huge coincidences and for people to do things that don't make any sense.

I wonder if Hammer still feels the same way about the situation.

Fred Gregory

One thing is clear . Ed Cone has become, or always has been, an advocate for the Wray putsch, as much as he, along with Hoggard, claims to be waiting for all the evidence to come in.
He tells me I have made up my mind.
Talk about having your mind made up ! Certainly a polarizing issue. Will the raw truth ever be known. Doubtful . Will this wrong be righted. Hopefully

Joe Guarino

Sandy reported on her blog that the date Hinson's resignation became effective was 1/11/06. That was two days after Wray's forced resignation. So the decision to reinstate Hinson, we are to believe, took place at some point between those two dates.

The implications of Johnson's statements is that he may very well have made these important, high profile personnel decisions-- or allowed them to be made-- without having personally read the Thacker-Wyrick report about Hinson.

It does not matter if Johnson related that his trust in Wray was lost if the objective basis for that putative loss of trust was invalid; and as Ed points out, we do not have the primary documents to enable us to evaluate that claim Johnson made. In the midst of all of this discussion, we need to remember that Johnson was working for the City Council.

Jim Rosenberg

While I support the release of all information, I think the true shape of this story is already visible from a more distanced view. This case is about June 10, 2005 [http://snipurl.com/1rr1f] and January 12, 2006 [http://snipurl.com/1rr1e]. The loaded words and intentional implications of those two A-1 stories were like wind on a wildfire, and they changed everything. I think of it as a toggle switch with two settings. Prior to those articles, it was set on "Management Issue." Lorraine Ahearn switched it to "Public Scandal." What Mitch Johnson wanted -- what we would all want in that situation -- is total trust. I honestly believe Wray would still have his job right now if at that time he'd said to Johnson some version of this: "Look, Hinson's dirty. I know it. My guys tell me they are close. I just need a little more time. Yes, we're walking up to some lines, and maybe sticking our toe across them -- but we're not out of control. I won't let this come back to bite us and you'll know everything I know." He didn't. He did very close to the opposite. He got terse. Johnson was facing a legal, political, and personal crisis and the best his Chief had to offer him was mere compliance. He could have fired him then, but he decided to order the RMA report to test his assumptions. When it came back, it was all over. In that story, there's room for everyone but the true conspiracists on both sides to be essentially true. If that turns out to be true story, I hope we can focus on how to avoid the scenario in the future instead of debating who is most to blame for it.

Joe Guarino

Jim, I think you may be making certain assumptions about Johnson's motivations back then that can't be objectively tested with the existing data set. We simply don't know for certain the content of the communications between Wray and Johnson at that time-- or for that matter, their communications with other parties involved in the process. The records have not been opened up. Johnson says that he drew certain inferences based on the information presented, and not presented. It is important that we know whether those inferences he says he made were valid.

The CA

Ed, I wrote what Johnson said. If there is a goof, it is by Johnson.

Bubba

"I wonder if Hammer still feels the same way about the situation."

If you had been paying attention, you would know the answer to that question.

We would then have been spared the your machinations of posting a statement that was made before certain facts were known.

meblogin

Johnson felt like he could no longer trust Wray due to not being informed. Valid or not...seems to be the story. How would placing Wray on paid leave regain trust.

as compared to---

Hinson is investigated several times. One assumes that Johnson trusts Hinson. Anyone here trust Hinson?

Right or wrong I trust Wray much more than Hinson.

Anthony

"posting a statement that was made before certain facts were known"

Hence my query as to whether or not he would *still* feel that way, since it's been some time since that statement was made. Might I suggest that if you are aware of a more recent statement by Hammer on the subject, it might be more helpful to everyone if you directed us to that statement, rather than simply making snarky, contentless statements that do nothing to further the conversation. We would then be spared your appalling lack of social skills.

Bubba

Might I suggest you do your own research before you ask a question and waste everyone's time?

Jonathan Jones

"Right or wrong I trust Wray much more than Hinson."

The two aren't on a continuum relative to each other. I'm not sure I trust either. Then again, I don't trust many people, and I never had direct interaction with either.

It seems to me the only real question is: Did Mitch Johnson trust Wray, his department head, in the fall of '05 and into January of 2006? Apparently not.

Trying to figure out whether that loss of trust was founded or unfounded nearly two years later is akin to pissing in the wind, over, and over, and over.

Anthony

Bubba, if you're unable to provide any actual information, maybe you should stop interjecting noise into the thread.

Can anyone point to a more recent statement from Hammer that gives his view on the matter? Does he still feel that the simplest explanation he outlined is the best, or has he moved beyond that?

It seems to me that if he's changed his mind, that speaks in favor of the city's case being pretty weak - it doesn't prove anything of course, but it would be a rare example (to my knowledge) of someone totally reversing their stance on this whole thing.

meblogin

yep...I was not clear...

It is interesting to me that Johnson has problems with Wray over trust issues...but appears to be content with others such as Hinson. (inconsistent management)

Then again, maybe the smoke and mirrors are in full play and the Wray topic goes back to Project Homestead which created ill feeling with both Johnson and Miles.

I am further challenged my Johnson's leadership to not release enough concrete information so that Greensboro can move on. Greensboro lost an excellent chief and still has many problems within our leadership.

Bubba

"Bubba, if you're unable to provide any actual information, maybe you should stop interjecting noise into the thread."

I give up.

Why do you need someone else to answer a "question" that you could easily answer for yourself?

It's not so hard.

Go to the Rhino's web site and educate yourself.

Anthony

I'm not sure why you couldn't just have suggested that right off the bat, instead of turning it into a confrontation. I should have thought to look through there in the first place, but I didn't. You complain about wasting people's time, but you don't seem to have any problem turning every thread into a long, drawn-out argument, rather than just providing a more straightforward answer or suggestion up front.

Bubba

I should have thought you would have been able to figure all that out without asking.

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