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Oct 14, 2007

Comments

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Hugh

Ed, Outstanding column.

IMO, "only in Greensboro" is a localized phenomena whereby the most inane actions are convoluted into racial spin for the purpose of furthering an agenda and discrediting an opponent.

Fred Gregory

Ed,

Thanks. I find my self in agreement with much of what you say here.

The he said/she said over the so-called " black book", and the perception that Wray misled Johnson about it about is more than adequately answered below and should disabuse those who are concerned with seeking the truth about a very complex situation of that notion:

32

And here:

33

Q.E.D.

It appears that Johnson over-reacted by locking Wray out of his office and leaving him with no real choice. I can't say if Johnson yielded to political pressure but from all we know today that certainly seems to be the case.

I particularly like your closing thought which is reminiscent of what former Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan famously asked after he had been the subject of a negative assault in the press and subsequently gained an acquittal after a jury trial." Which office do I go to to get back my reputation ? "

Beau D. Jackson

Ed......My Cherokee grandmother once told me to be careful of people who have too many mouths. When she told me that I'm sure she had you in mind. Your writtings to date have been in lock-step with MJ and JR in thier attempts to discredit and remove David Wray from office via your instep racist slant, so much to the point that I swear if either MJ or JR were to make a sudden stop they'd have to rush one or the other to High Point Memorial and perform a rectalectomy to remove you from a very dark place. Is this new tact in an attemp to now soft pedal the racial issue because of the probable law suits that will be forth coming from the black officers that were given the "ok to sue" by the EEOC report! I have a feeling John Hammer is going to have a field day with this "new" spin!

Ed Cone

What did grandma say about knowing what you are talking about before hitting the "post comment" button, BDJ?

There's nothing new in my saying there is no evidence of Wray being a racist.

It seems important that Mitch Johnson says it -- I know it's important to David Wray -- which is why I led my column with that under-reported fact.

You may need for this to be a simple matter of taking one side or the other, and to cast everyone else in the same mold. I've never felt that way about this case, and I do not feel that way now.

Tony Wilkins

BDJ, it is hilarious to watch the entire "David Wray has a white hood in his closet" crowd crawling out of the barrel now.
They would have you believe that no one ever insinuated that David Wray was a racist.
I wonder how we could have ever come to that conclusion?

Bubba

"They would have you believe that no one ever insinuated that David Wray was a racist.

I wonder how we could have ever come to that conclusion?


Yes indeed, Tony.

The attempts at revisionist history are not apparent at all, are they?

The CA

Ed, how should Mitch Johnson be held accountable for suggesting that Wray was a racist in the first place?

Tony Wilkins

Just a reminder of some of the actual culprits:

From the Associated Press; January 11, 2006:
Mitch Johnson: “If I was a black officer, I would certainly feel targeted…”

From WFMY News2; 1/27/2006:
“City Manager Mitchell Johnson claims the special intelligence division used the book to conduct bogus investigations of black officers.”

From NPR; 1/24/2006
“N.C. Police Chief Resigns After Racial Scandal
“A racial profiling scandal has forced the resignation of the police chief in Greensboro, N.C. He used an internal affairs unit to secretly investigate 14 black officers for alleged misconduct. Rusty Jacobs of WUNC North Carolina Public Radio reports.”

Beau D. Jackson

You may need for this to be a simple matter of taking one side or the other, and to cast everyone else in the same mold. I've never felt that way about this case, and I do not feel that way now.
My grandmother had more sense of right, wrong, and justice in her little finger than you have in your entire body. And it's not nice to make lite of one's grandmother as mine, who is deceased, was a great judge of character. Runs in the family and for sometime now I have taken issue with your comments. Ed, I wasn't born to take sides in this matter. I simply take information from various sources available, add a little water, and pull out an opinion. However, in my readings it seems more probably that you, and those you represent, suggest misrepresentations, fantastic exaggerations, and often outlandish fabrications of the truth, and it's outrageous how a person such as you can use the media namely the N&R as a vehicle with such outlandish smear spin and distortions of true fact. You should be ashamed.

Ed Cone

BDJ, I'm sure your grandmother was a fine woman. You're the one who brought her up, don't act so wounded that her status as moral arbiter was applied to your falsehoods as well.

I pointed you straight to examples that show that I have long questioned the Wray-as-racist story that you said I endorsed. That's what I'm talking about when I ask about getting facts straight before launching accusations.

Also, I don't represent anyone but myself. I'm fortunate to have a forum in the newspaper, but I am not their employee and they don't tell me what to write or edit what I say.

Beau D. Jackson

Also, I don't represent anyone but myself. I'm fortunate to have a forum in the newspaper, but I am not their employee and they don't tell me what to write or edit what I say.

I can't agree with your last paragraph as all I've ever read that you have writen suggests that you walk in a Zombie lock-step with JR and the N&R. And therefore it is unfortunate that you have a forum in the N&R where I'm sure the rest who disagree with JR would not. A mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste where there is no objective mind of its own, and has to walk in the shadow of others. So now since David Wray has been absolved of all racist slander it's time for him to be reinstalled as Chief of Police of the GPD! Right

Roch101

"I can't agree with your last paragraph as all I've ever read that you have writen suggests that you walk in a Zombie lock-step with JR and the N&R." -- BDJ

Examples?

Fec

It is pathetically ironic that anyone named Jackson would brag of Cherokee ancestry.

Nick

Ed,

Great article and well thought out. I have only posted on this site a few times. It goes without saying but we all know the Rhino/Bledsoe crowd and others are continuing to flame the racism charges for political gain. I totally agree and have continued to maintain that this was not about race but a boss/employee issue. Many within GPD were not allowed to have an opinion for fear of reprisals/reassignments of the Wray administration. The pro-Wray crowd also continues to fail to acknowledge the part that officers of all ranks, races and gender went to the manager with concerns about things within GPD. What Johnson did is what any good boss or any business would do....Investigate to find out the truth. Once that lead to some potential ethical issues or outright avoidance or lying by Wray, Johnson took action. (To me it's simple) The other part that seems to be ignored is when various folks make comments like, Wray couldnt have known everything happening within such a large department. Hogwash..That was his job to keep up. The Police Chief is ultimately responsible for any and all decisions of those employees below them. It may not be right but that is how it works.(Unless of course you try to find a fall guy within the department) The team performs badly, the coach is fired. The CEO has bad earnings/stock report, he is fired. Problems within GPD from various ranks, races, genders, union etc....Wray should have been fired. And if you noticed, of all the aforementioned reasons of why Wray could or should have been fired, I didnt mention Hinson, or him being a racist etc.

Nick

Any would Bill Knight, Bubba, Joe or some of the others answer this one question for me. When Hinson had been cleared multiple times Wray brought in two individuals he trusted. (Thacker and Wyrick) These two retired officers that he trusted came to the same conclusion as the others that all of the charges were unfounded/or exonerated Hinson. Yet, Wray still would not let this go and led Mitch, the Council and all of us to believe there was still an ongoing State investigation which we know was not true. On this point and this point alone...please explain how you can refute these facts.

Jim Rosenberg

Ed - The perception that David Wray is a racist is directly attributable to the News & Record's sensational coverage of this story. It's a shame if this gets buried in the mire as simply part of the axe that Jerry has to grind with the paper. I'm not talking about your garden variety "the N&R is liberal" hogwash. I'm talking about a gigantic A1 story, headlined: "Secret Police Use Black Ops On Black Cop." [http://snipurl.com/1rr1f] I remember the day this hit and I nearly fell out of my chair. It's not credible to look back on this as a matter of headline-writing. This was dropped like a bomb, and it exploded like a bomb. Then later, another bomb: "Official: Wray Hid 'Black Book'" [http://snipurl.com/1rr1e]. This was another A1 bomb, dressed to kill. Even if every piece of shrapnel in both of those articles is legal when it is fired as an "allegation," it's still subject to review when people get hurt. The N&R has to answer for ringing the town bells on this. Finally, I don't understand the lead sentence of the "Black Book" article [http://snipurl.com/1rr1e]: "GREENSBORO — Former police Chief David Wray misled city leaders when he covered up the actions of a “secret police” unit that targeted black officers for unfair internal investigation, Greensboro officials said." What Greensboro official said that Wray covered up the black book and was unfairly targeting black officers? This is the lead paragraph in the big A1 screamer. I mean, c'mon -- it's beyond credibility to sit here now and wonder why people got the wrong idea that Wray is a racist.

Ed Cone

Jim, who's wondering why people got the idea that Wray is a racist?

From my column: "Early reports from both the media and the city made much of the racial aspects. Lawyers and politicians and preachers said race was at the heart of the matter."

But...that doesn't answer every question. We still don't know why a Wray deputy "secured" the photo array in the trunk of his car instead of Wray telling his boss, hey, this is a routine investigative tool that might be confused with the alleged "black book." And the reasons for and extent of investigations of the offers -- who were black -- remain in dispute.

Jim Rosenberg

Ed - I was definitely not referring to you, but instead the N&R. That front-pager using the RMA to wonder why Greensboro can't get along -- very hard to swallow when the paper was such a crucial driver in this notgettingalongness. It really bothers me that the N&R is seeking to slip its serious complicity in this mess into the same box that carries the conspiracy theories and paranoia. That's a mistake which claims truth as a casualty. We ought not to let it happen. The way this story was covered and the environment created by that coverage colored every single action by every player and was a key driver in the drama. Any discussion which fails to include this misses the point.

Jim Rosenberg

I'm really looking for answer to that question up there, too. With the recent news stories and editorials, I thought I was crazy about the N&R coverage on this. I decided that the best test of fairness was to go back and read the two articles that were featured most prominently - not some side story. These would represent the newspaper's leading edge of coverage. Clearly, the "Secret Police" and "Black Book" ones were the big boys -- A1 and loud. This lead paragraph to the "Black Book" story is really hard to square with current positions taken by both the paper and the City: "GREENSBORO — Former police Chief David Wray misled city leaders when he covered up the actions of a “secret police” unit that targeted black officers for unfair internal investigation, Greensboro officials said." How could that be anything other than an accusation that Wray covered up a racist investigation? Who is making that accusation? It can't be the tooth fairy. I think Wray was probably justly fired for failure to communicate fully with Johnson, but it's crucial to fully appreciate how the fog created by sensational coverage of this story exacerbated that disconnnect.

Bubba

".....please explain how you can refute these facts."

You haven't provided any "facts" here.

Try again.

Bubba

"I think Wray was probably justly fired for failure to communicate fully with Johnson."


Not substantiated.

However, it IS a convenient way to keep the focus on Wray as the "bad guy", every time the "Racist Wray" meme is discredited each time it's brought up when it's convenient to distract attention away from the real issues in the situation.

Fred Gregory

If this was the NFL we would be hearing a guy in black and white stripes tell us: :" After further review the play on the field is reversed "

Tony Wilkins

Funny Fred and so true.

Just an opinionated comment to Nick:
Nick, I suspect David Wray could have well respected and trusted Thacker and Wyrick and not have agreed with their findings if compelling evidence continued to pour in.
If David Wray truly thought there was corruption involved with this officer what should he have done? Pursue or drop? I would prefer he pursued.
You are attempting to paint a picture that poor ol' Hurcules was just continuously picked on by top brass. If you truly believe that what would be your reasoning?
Do you believe all the accusations and associations were planted?

Tony Wilkins

Jim Rosenberg stated:
"I think Wray was probably justly fired for failure to communicate fully with Johnson."

Jim, that's only if you believe Johnson's version of this communication and Johnson's version of things has tended to not be quite accurate. Remember this:
January 11, 2006:
Mitch Johnson: “If I was a black officer, I would certainly feel targeted…”.

Roch101

I agree, Tony, that Johnson's verions of events has been "substantiated" only by the release of selective information. It's impossible for a thinking person to reach any conclusions when additional information remains secret. However, what documentation do you have that Johnson's version of things has been innacurate?

Tony Wilkins

Absolutely none Roch.
My personal opinion is that we will discover that Mitch Johnson misconstrued David Wray's response just as he has on several other occasions.
And I'm not convinced that even the released information substantiates Johnson's actions. I find myself scratching my head every time he speaks.(such as...what in the world did Sanders tape of him comparing his job to the CIA have to do with anything?...Johnson looked around the room like this was earth shattering news...did I just miss something here?)
David Wray's 25 years of exemplary service is enough for me to trust his credibility. I have never believed he turned into the Grand Imperial Wizard overnight.
Roch, good luck on your continued pursuit to get information released.

Nick

Tony,

"You are attempting to paint a picture that poor ol' Hurcules was just continuously picked on by top brass. If you truly believe that what would be your reasoning? Do you believe all the accusations and associations were planted?'

I do not believe anything was planted, I just merely point out that Hinson had been exonerated...what 4 times before Wray brought in his trusted retired officers who came to the same conclusion as the four before them. So what other conclusions do you have other than (1) Hinson might have alot of baggage and problems but truly was innocent or (2) Wray was hell bent on finding something on Hinson by any means necessary which also ultimately lead to his fall. I think on this point alone....#2 wins.

Tim

"that Hinson had been exonerated...what 4 times before"

Hinson hasn't been exonerated, or cleared, or found any other synonym or euphemism for "not guilty." The phrase I remember the best is "not substantiated", if I am not mistaken. So you are left with a third possible conclusion: Hinson has managed to dodge the bullets. There is a verdict that is used only Scotland besides the two most familiar to us, "guilty" and "not guilty." It is the verdict "not proven". I suggest that the allegations have not been proven against Hinson, not that there is no basis to the allegations. Remember that whole smoke/fire thing, and it wasn't just Wray who had questions about Hinson. Chief White started that ball rolling.

Ed Cone

Tim writes: "Hinson hasn't been exonerated, or cleared, or found any other synonym or euphemism for 'not guilty.'"

Actual wording from Johnson's 10/2/07 statement:

"Thacker and Wyrick's review concluded that there was no basis to link Lieutenant Hinson to those issues or that the information did not reach a level where further investigation was warranted."

More: "Hinson had been investigated and cleared by both Special Intelligence Division and Internal affairs...that interview cleared Hinson..." [emphasis added]

Tim

Ed,
I think you are giving Johnson's statements more weight than many other observers of the kerfuffle are willing to do right now. Now if you can show me Thacker and Wyrick's actual review, rather than Mitchell Johnson characterizations of what the review said, I might be more inclined to give Hinson the benefit of the doubt. Is the report available? If it is available, and the language isn't ambiguous, I will yield. In its absence, Johnson can spin the issue to his advantage and we might not know. It seems he has a track record for seeing things as more significant than they really are, e.g. the recordings of Scott Sanders. Ultimately, Hinson and the allied issues are tangential to what’s really going on. That Mitch Johnson has used (created?) those issues to further his version of the unholy mess says more about Johnson’s character or lack thereof. Johnson is a narcissist. This whole thing is about his ego. Hinson? Black Book? They are just macguffins.

Here's my two cents worth. Mitchell Johnson is the living embodiment of the Peter Principle: people tend to rise to their level of incompetence. He is over his head. Also he has a tendency to micromanage and second guess. David Wray is a good, decent man who is also a product of police culture and the history of Greensboro. Both of those influences led him to believe that he when he became police chief that he would have a free hand in the running of the department, just as Sylvester Daughtry and Robert White seem to have had. But they worked for Ed Kitchen. A big difference.

The kerfuffle comes from these elements: 1. Johnson is weak city manager, and has a neurotic need for everyone to acknowledge that he is boss; 2. Wray's assumption that he actually ran the department; 3. Wray's reaction to being micromanaged and second guessed by a man (that I am guessing for whom he was losing respect) causing him to try to ever more convincingly portray personal confidence in his leadership of the department, and convey the message that everything was under control and everything was being done for good reasons. This had the paradoxical effect of actually further undermining Johnson's confidence in Wray.

Anthropologist Gregory Bateson in his book Steps to an Ecology of Mind, calls this complementary schismogenesis. Given two groups of people, the interaction between them is such that a behavior X from one side elicits a behavior Y from the other side. Furthermore, the behaviors may exaggerate one another, leading to a severe rift and possible conflict. Professor Deborah Tannen, noted socio-linguist, in her book That's Not What I Meant, explains complementary schismogenesis through the example of a quarreling couple who " as they tried to recoup lost good will, they exhibited more and more exaggerated forms of the behavior that was causing a negative reaction in the other."

Everything Wray did was intended to re-establish Johnson’s confidence is his leadership. Johnson saw everything as undermining that confidence. How many times have we had a disagreement with someone, where our point was clear in our own head and it was completely opaque to that someone else? What do we do? We repeat ourselves, but louder the second time. It doesn’t make the other person see our point, it just annoys them, and makes us seem loud and irrational, even if the other person is just being a bonehead. Wray was just loudly repeating himself, and Johnson was just hearing what he heard the first time. The problem comes from the differences between what is stated, the message, and all the other elements of communication that provide meaning like tone of voice or emphasis, the meta-message. Further the meta-message can be divided into the intended meta-message and the perceived meta-message. Wray thought he was reassuring Johnson. Johnson didn’t interpret it that way.

Additionally there is the conversational frame, which has to do with the relationship between communicators and their assumptions. One doesn’t talk to a friend the same way you talk to a customer, for example. It has a different frame. I am guessing Wray saw his role to be like the Army Chief of Staff to Johnson’s Secretary of Defense. Johnson was nominally his boss, but should leave the day-to-day running of the police department to the police chief. Wray was the professional, a specialist, and Johnson was the generalist. A certain amount of deference needs to flow to the nominal subordinate. Johnson, however, sees himself as the Boss, period. Wray’s word wasn’t sufficient, but I think no one’s would be, regardless of department. These sets of assumptions inform how the two communicate, and they aren’t compatible.

Ultimately, the conversation (in an abstract sense) between Wray and Johnson was not about any of the publicly stated issues. It is about Mitch Johnson’s need to subordinate David Wray, in a way that was not consistent with the previous city manager’s relationship with previous police administrations, and David Wray’s need to be seen as commanding the department that was under his watch. Mitch wanted Wray to kowtow. Wray felt, at least unconsciously, that he couldn’t lead and been seen to do that. Wray just wanted to run the department and get his boss to back him up. This is not to say he was a complete angel, or could not have been smarter about his end of things. If Johnson felt mislead, it was because his issues have lead him to misinterpret.

Lest you think I am one of the mouth breathers that lurk about here, I just want to say that even agreeing a little bit with John Hammer and his sort makes me feel ooky. I'd like it all to get sorted out just to keep the Rhino from bolstering its ad revenue. Is it my imagination, but didn't the Rhino slag Bledsoe every opportunity? Strange bedfellows.

Ray Bluford

Tim,

You da man! WOW.You have nailed it. Best coment I have seen as yet on that sick little psyco of a city manager. He needs some meds and a new less stressful job. Mitch has fiddled while Greensboro descends into the abyss of more racial strife and corruption. Cone has hit a few veins of gold here but he is still fence sitting. It is called hedging your bets in sports gambling parlance.

The CA

The City will be giving up most of the information sooner or later, probably sooner, even if we have to take it to the N.C. Supreme Court. Stay tuned.

nick

In a perfect world, I wish Johnson and Wray would trump the conspiracy theorist by doing the following.

News Conference with both Wray and Johnson.....

Johnson starts by saying the City would like to clear up some half truths and officially set the record straight. During this time he says the following:"If by inference or any other means the City implied that Chief Wray was a racist then that is not the case. I want to also offically state that I dont personnally believe him to be racist and his good name on this matter should be restored. While the Chief understands the actions that lead up to his resignation it is time for the City and Cheif Wray to move beyond this issue so the City and Greensboro Police can heal.

Chief Wray--

" I would like to thank the manager for those comments and clearing up any assumptions or perceptions about my racial beliefs. The record shows my support of members of all races during my tenure at GPD. There are some issues during my tenure where all facts about ongoing investigations and other matters were not brought to the managers attention in a timely manner. For that I apologize and agree that the City and I need to move on.

Questions....Happy trails....

The end.....

meblogin

....and thank you Mr. Johnson for offering me my old job with a sizable pay increase and all benefits restored.....

Hinson...YOU ARE FIRED!

Isn't it great to live in a right to work state?

Mick

Did dude just call me a mouth breather?

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