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Feb 12, 2008


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I don't get it. What are we supposed to take away from this?

These letters evidence the City working behind the scenes against claims of personnel records protection, yet the City publicly denies the release of other information with that reason.

These letters evidence (again) an erroneous belief that the Garrity rights apply to the release of information.

Despite the press releases announcement that these documents can be released because an unnamed we got permission from an unnamed person or persons, the final document on the list was, in fact, released three weeks ago in a press release from Linda Miles.

Like I asked, what are we supposed to glean from this? Seriously, any help would be greatly appreciated.


"Like I asked, what are we supposed to glean from this? Seriously, any help would be greatly appreciated."

Ask Perkins. He's the one who orchestrated this.

Best guess?

It smells like an attempt to obfuscate the issue in advance of the council meeting in which he will act as the captain of the Mitch Johnson cheerleader squad.

Ben Holder

It is all a bunch of BS and a good signal that Mitch Management is struggling to survive. I thought he was through releasing information?

Billy The Blogging Poet

Yep, looks as if they're just buying time by wasting our time.

"Move along, nothing to see here."


Roch is exactly right. Garrity has no bearing on the issue because no police officers are being charged criminally as a result of something they may have said in the RMA investigation.

I find it interesting that none of the explanations provided in the letters have been given to Roch, Joe and I other than the one general letter from Smith Moore on January 23, 2008 citing the law with almost no explanation.

I am still waiting for someone to tell whose personnel file is the RMA a part of. In order to be a personnel file, it has to be linked to a person- and the law says that merely putting it in someone's file doesn't count. The law also says a lot of other things that lead me to believe that the RMA report isn't a protected document, but I think we can start with that simple question about whose file it is a part of before going there.



TO: City of Greensboro
FROM: Anyone who has ever paid the slightest attention to any kind of political scandal

Release. Everything. Now. You're not clever enough to game this thing. Damage control makes people stupid. You have no right to privacy, and you don't own anything. It's all going to come out anyway, and the longer it takes, the worse it's going to be.


The funny thing is that the underlying rationale ostensibly behind the refusal to release these things is to avoid being sued.

That has worked out real well, hasn't it? Not one person has sued based on information released by the City. Not one person has sued based on the "black book" and I can see no legal theory under which any person could sue if it was released. Not one person has sued based on the RMA- even though the city didn't release it, I feel pretty confident all parties involved have read it and would have found a legal theory by now to sue under.

Who are they afraid of suing them and under what theory? Simply put, the RMA does not contain information protected by personnel records laws. It is an investigative report prepared not by the City, but by a third party. If the City made its files available to RMA, then they have already violated personnel records laws if they think they apply. They don't, and they know they don't.

Don't believe me? Go ahead an look at 160A-168 and tell me exactly what exception permitted the City to release personnel information to RMA so they could do their report.

So if releasing information to RMA to prepare their report does not violate personnel records law, than there is no way that releasing the RMA report can. See the Poole case and its progeny.


Here's what I've learned from today's information:

Attorney's for the accused ask that information not be released but prosecutors don't object. The city releases information.

Prosecutors asks that information not be released, but the accused do not object. The city keeps the information under wraps.


"If the City made its files available to RMA, then they have already violated personnel records laws if they think they apply."

This is exactly an issue on which Manager Johnson and City Council should be seeking "second opinion advice". This isn't a hypothetical argument but the kind of decided law that any layman can understand. The preeminent case on North Carolina public records law is N&O v. Poole (I have a digital copy, I'll look for a link).

In this State Supreme Court precedent-setting case, the News & Observer successfully sued to have made public personnel information collected by a government appointed commission, the Poole Commission. Among other interesting observations about North Carolina records law, in its ruling, the court decided that information gathered by a third party (the Commission members in Poole) is not subject to the protections of state personnel records.

Once the city allowed the third party RMA to gather information on its employees, the information given to RMA lost any possible protections it might have had under personnel records laws.

Jeffrey Sykes

Roch, Sam: Why aren't you guys taking this to court already?


One last ditch effort, but the clock is running real fast. We were fully prepared to file this week, but decided to pursue one more course of action first.


Good question, Jeffrey. The three of us had agreed to do so last week. Then I had a conversation with Mike Barber (he called me for some help navigating local blogs). I asked him if he wanted to hear the latest on our public information request, which he did. I told him about the deficient response to our request so far and that we had decided to sue. He asked us to consider meeting with the newly formed city council's subcommittee on legal affairs to see if they might be able to help break the log jam. Sam, Joe and I talked about it and agreed to meet.


Okay everybody lets put this thing to rest. basic police work 101. what is one of the most important things that an investigator needs to prove a case? The answer is : date that the incident occurred. what date can anyone say that the alleged sexual assault occur at the RELAX INN? If no one can provide a date, how can they determine which officers were working and include them in the BLACK BOOK!!!

David Hoggard

Uh Oh. Some clarity just hit me.

In case anyone is confused, what william is referring to is which officers were included in the 'black book' and why they were included.

If no date was ever specified for the alleged sexual assault by the accuser, then the whole world was Sanders' candy store as long as the officers were black. Given that, he had great latitude to place whomever he wanted in the book within the guidelines leaked last week.

We have assumed that only black officers who were on duty at the time of the allegation were included. But what if the date and time of the incident was never clearly and plausibly established by the victim as 'william' suggests?

If that were the case, the line-up book would just be a Sanders organized fishing expedition among black officers.

Jeffrey Sykes


David Hoggard

Me or william? Both?

You, perhaps... intransigent


thank you david for seeing my point. please explore this further.


My understanding is that the CAD report has this information about the date, which may be why Cohen wanted the City Council to see that report. Of course THE PUBLIC hasn't been able to see anything.

And once again it is implied that Sanders used the book for improper purposes but there isn't ONE shred of evidence to support this theory. Not ONE. I challenge anyone to bring forth one piece of evidence to the contrary.

This is the United States, and the burden of proof is on the accuser. We don't assume Sanders is guilty of anything, particularly when there isn't ONE shred of evidence to support it.

Brian Clarey

"This is the United States, and the burden of proof is on the accuser. We don't assume Sanders is guilty of anything, particularly when there isn't ONE shred of evidence to support it."

Would you say the same thing about James Hinson, Spags?


SPAG. you are wrong to assume that. why not find out what the date was? please don't get upset. just look for factual information. I am not assuming he is guilty of anything, but if you are going to be honest with yourselves, i suggest that you search for the truth. assumptions and false information can cost someone their life. be careful when you assume things.

Ed Cone

If you mean the City attorney's report, those things are thick on the ground. I'll check mine tomorrow if nobody else has one handy.


Ed, you simply don't understand that these terms have legal meaning.

The Department of Justice has special policies when the subpoenaed person is either a "target" or a "subject" of the grand jury investigation. A "target" is someone the prosecutor or grand jury has substantial evidence to link to a crime, and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is likely to be indicted. A "subject" of a grand jury investigation is someone whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury's investigation.

A target has special rights concerning grand jury testimony and must be notified before appearing that he may be subject to criminal charges.

Wray knows the difference. People who work in the federal criminal system know the difference. Wray chose his words carefully. In fact, he cleared his statement with the U.S. Attorney before he made it and they did not object or cry out that it was misleading. They made sure that it did not imply that Hinson was a "target". If they were sure that Wray's letter made it clear that Hinson was a target, why do you and others think otherwise?

Wray never used the term "subject" or "target" for good reason that he understands, the U.S. Attorney understand, and I understand. Yet, you say my explanation isn't very plausible. It is in fact the most plausible given what is known. The least plausible explanation is the one offered by the City and those who are scrambling to make a case against Wray in a manner that makes a lot of attorneys, particularly ones who work in federal criminal law scratch their heads and wonder what the fuss is about. This is because they know and understand the actual words have meaning.

I am constantly amazed at how the burden of proof is shifted in this case, and how people think that this patchwork of allegations leads up to something sinister by David Wray when a simple, plain look at the facts shows otherwise. You are ignoring the obvious and factual, yet say I offer something improbable. What is really improbable is that Wray implied that Hinson was a target of the investigation when he clearly did not say this, nor imply it because he knows that the word "target" and "subject" have legal significance in the federal system. Hence, his meeting with the U.S. Attorney before hand- to make sure the statement was acceptable.

Further, one needs to ask themselves whether the case against Wray as initially set out has gotten stronger or weaker as time passes and more is known. Yet, some still cling to allegations that have been thoroughly discredited and claim that those who see the obvious explanations are "stretching" to acquit Wray. No, it is the other way. In light of the facts, it is the City and those who cling to the theories sold by the City who are stretching to convince people Wray is guilty.

Applying the common legal usage of the terms involved in Wray's statement about Hinson, and seeing the truth behind the "black book" makes it pretty clear that there was no wrongdoing here. Again, I challenge anyone to bring evidence, not innuendo, but evidence to the contrary.

Jeffrey Sykes

David: I just am dismayed at your ability to bounce back and forth on this matter. Not trying to be hostile, just unhappy to see someone go back and forth.

I enjoy the Wray Fray as a matter of watching history unfold and wondering how the next century of GSO history will reflect on the last couple of years.

As a matter of policy, if I lived in GSO, I would be urging folks like you and Sam and Roch to accept that Wray is/was a pawn/salient in a larger battle. What you all spend focusing on parsing the Wray incident into more obscure bits is wasted energy that should be spent on a united front to get to the bottom of the Project Homestead scandal.

As an outsider, it amazes me to watch that issue go unresolved as the puppet masters continue to attract attention here and there, ever away from what was a larger, more sinister, and still unresolved betrayal of the public trust.

But I do enjoy the drama.


"Would you say the same thing about James Hinson, Spags?"

The only thing we can say for certain about James Hinson is that he is still employed by the city of Greensboro, as is true in the case of Mitch Johnson, among others. None of the people in this group is (yet)under criminal indictment

David Wray and many others are not still employed, and two are under indictment.

Most of us think there is something terribly twisted and wrong with this picture, based on all the evidence that has been placed forward by all of the parties.

There are a few apologists/enablers/influence peddlers still out there trying to revise the facts to best suit their needs and their influence groups' needs, however.


Clarey, yes I would regarding the burden of proof. As to whether there is NO evidence of misconduct against Hinson, I disagree. But some evidence isn't proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and may not be even a preponderance. But compared some evidence is more than NO evidence, and there is NO evidence that the photo lineup was used for nefarious purpose. None. There is evidence of a legitimate purpose, so right now given the evidence, Wray & Co. win on summary judgment. The case gets kicked out before trial.

William, I'd love to find out what date is involved, but you see, the City won't give me any records. We asked for ALL of the black book records and have gotten none.

I also caution you that this date thing is not a smoking gun, and it also fails to establish an improper use of the black book which is the crux of the case. So my challenge to you is to produce ONE shred of evidence that this "book" was misused at all, much less misused in the manner suggested by Johnson, Lorraine Ahearn and the RMA. Remember the RMA claimed it was shown to every hooker, junky, etc across the country, but to date not ONE shred of evidence has been presented to support that allegation. Not ONE.

I'm not sure how to take that last bit about "assumptions and false information can cost someone their life. be [sic] careful when you assume things." In any case, you can report back to your boss now and see if he/she/they give you something else for you to spin.

Jeffrey Sykes

Brian: Hinson is a police commander with incredible power over the lives of average GSO citizens. He should be scrutinized with a freaking nuetron microscope by his superiors and come up spotless time and again and like it.

Or does he get a pass for some reason?

Ed Cone

Sam, my limited understanding does include the fact that your seeming non sequitur of a comment at 10:09 PM belongs in another thread, to which I don't think you've added much of substance.

David Hoggard


Page two of Ken Keller's memo indicated that Sanders verified the date by cross checking the night that the victim says she changed rooms at the motel due to ongoing harrassment.

So why doesn't that definitivly establish the time frame?

ben holder


David Hoggard

Jeffrey, thanks.

My ability to "bounce back and forth on this matter" comes naturally. I won't land solidly on either bank until I more fully understand the way the river flows.

Possibly a character flaw on my part but I like to think of it more as keeping my mind open until i know all there is to learn about about an issue.


Ed, you were right that I mistakenly posted it here. You were wrong that it contributes nothing to the conversation, so why don't you be a man and admit it? You try to dismiss my argument because I know what I'm talking about, and you clearly don't. Why don't you call Matlocke and ask him if the words "target" and "subject" have significant legal meanings in federal court? Locke will tell you they do.

You look ignorant and misinformed when you try to make me look ignorant and misinformed about matters that I know a whole lot more about than you do.

For the rest of the crowd, I direct you to the post that Ed dismisses as not "adding much of substance" for your comments.

Whose starting the pissing contest, Ed? Typical reaction whenever you get boxed in.

Ed Cone

Sam, I'm not trying to make you look ignorant or misinformed. I didn't even know we were having a pissing contest; such was not my intention.

I just don't think that repeating your argument made it more convincing.

The public record includes Johnson's statement to Yes!, Wray's statement to the press, and Bledsoe's telling of Wray's story. We agree that Mitch's meeting notes would be very useful in getting to the bottom of this question. I don't see how you can claim such certainty about how Wray represented things to his boss without that information.


[sic] "Who is..."


Spag, whats your definition of misuse? and just give us the date it happened and i'll submit to your logic?


That's a different argument, Ed. Mitch's theory is premised on the public statement Wray made. He has never to my knowledge asserted anywhere that Wray told him something different in private. He has implied that the statement Wray gave implied something different than what he was told in private- but the statement doesn't imply anything different than what Johnson told YES! that Wray said to him.


"If you put Ed Kitchen and I together in a room on July 10, 2005, we would have told you that James Hinson is the focus of a multi-jurisdictional, international investigation, that he's involved in narcotics trafficking and possibly the disappearance of another person, but that we couldn't act because we would compromise the investigation, and - this is the chief's words - 'that would have tipped off the suspects."

Why was the US Attorney mad when the Rhino/Bledsoe series came out?

Hint: "that would have tipped off the suspects"

Does Mitch use the word "target" or "subject"? Does he say that Wray told him Hinson was the "focus"? No, he doesn't make that claim. Read carefully. He uses the date of July 10, 2005, one month after Wray's public statement and never claims that Wray said something said to him in private before that date or before the statement. Johnson never says that Wray used these words or gave him this impression, nor does he say where he got this impression or what exactly gave him this impression. And as I demonstrated, the only way Johnson could get that impression from Wray's public statement would be if he was ignorant of the legal usage of terms and what they mean for lawyers and law enforcement. That is his fault, not Wray's. The evidence shows that Wray took steps to make sure he wasn't misrepresenting things before he made the statement. The U.S. Attorney understood the meaning, why didn't Johnson?

The stretch is in trying to make this case. You ignore what is known in favor of speculation that Wray may have told Johnson something else in private about the Feds and Hinson, but there is NO evidence of that. Why don't you ask Johnson if that ever happened and what exactly did Wray tell him?

It is exactly this kind of speculation about things that may never have even happened and of which there is no evidence that puzzles me why you find my scenario which is based upon what is known as implausible, while giving credence to theories that all rely on the unknown and which require evidence to be valid; evidence that has never even been mentioned as existing.

Again, I ask the common sense question, given what is actually known, what evidence is there of wrongdoing by David Wray?

Coward's Hide behind screen names

Ed: Will you make "william"'s ip address publicly available here?


William, "misuse" in the context of this story would be used for an illegitimate or unlawful purpose. Which also leads to the document request. The City claims that they can't release the lineup book because it is a criminal investigation record. That exception applies to documents "compiled" for the purpose of a "criminal investigation." So if the privilege is to apply to the "black book" then by definition, the "black book" was "compiled" for a "criminal investigation". Thus, the City's own legal argument against releasing the book legitimizes its use.

Otherwise, if it was "compiled" for the purpose of targeting black officers, it would not be "compiled" for the purpose of a "criminal investigation" and no privilege would apply.

As far as the date, Hogg rightly points out that the date is referred to in the Keller documents, but beyond that, I caution you again, that is a red herring that does nothing to substantiate a misuse of the photo lineup. It requires speculation that Sanders must have misused it because he didn't put in the date- but that still requires evidence of the actual misuse, of which there is NONE.



"Otherwise, if it was "compiled" for the purpose of targeting black officers, it would not be "compiled" for the purpose of a "criminal investigation" and no privilege would apply."

What if it was originally compiled legitimately for the purpose of a criminal investigation, but then later used illegitimately to target black officers?

Not saying that's the case, just wondering if the seemingly clear-cut dichotomy is accurate.


Anthony, I suppose that might present a legal dilemma, one that the City Council or City Manager would have to decide whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privilege asserted. They could do that now without any evidence of an improper use, but I suspect that won't be considered until the SBI investigation is over.

Of course, as I have repeated countless times and nobody has been able to refute, there is no evidence whatsoever that the lineup was used for anything other than a legitimate investigation.


"Of course, as I have repeated countless times and nobody has been able to refute, there is no evidence whatsoever that the lineup was used for anything other than a legitimate investigation."

Sure, I'm with you on that. My point is just that the city claiming that the book was compiled as an investigative tool doesn't automatically undercut their claim that it was used illegitimately. They aren't mutually exclusive options.


They aren't, which is one reason I asked for clarification in my January 30th letter to the Smith Moore lawyers as to exactly what criminal investigation was being used as the basis of the privilege, the GPD or the SBI?

It has been two weeks, and I have not received a response. That doesn't sit well with me. Maybe the City Council should get on the phone with the lawyers and find out why we haven't received a response yet before it costs a lot of money. Silence is costly.


"If no date was ever specified for the alleged sexual assault by the accuser, then the whole world was Sanders' candy store as long as the officers were black." -- Hoggard

David, according to Keller's letter to City Council, the alleged victim reported something that would have helped an investigator pin down the date. She said she was upset enough by the third visit from the officer on the night in question, that she changed rooms.

According to Keller, Sanders obtained receipts from the hotel that indicate a date during the period in question on which the alleged victim changed rooms. True, the accuser appears not to have specified a date, but she provided enough information that Sanders could determine the date from motel records.

Also according to Keller, those motel records were originally attached to the line-up book when turned over to the City and RMA, but apparently were removed before the book was shown to city council.


after all of this no one can say exactly what date it was! why? it a simple request and the answer should be easy to verify, if in fact this incident did in fact happened. maybe Bledsoe has the date? he seems to be on top of things!

Jonathan Jones

There is supposed to be a public incident report for every crime reported to the police department. I searched the P2C database and couldn't find anything at the Relax Inn address that matched what's in Ken Keller's letter in the months before January 15, 2005.

That doesn't mean it didn't exist. It wouldn't be the first time GPD didn't put an incident report into P2C for whatever reason. That's what the hullabaloo with the N&R over the officers accused of sexual assault last year was because the city wouldn't provide the information that's supposed to be in that incident report.

Anyway, it should be a public document obtainable from the police department

Brian Clarey

Wow... a lot happened here while I slept.
Making me dizzy... or maybe that's just morning time.
Sykes: Agreed about Hinson -- the guy's got red flags all over him. But he has been investigated more than once and nothing has been able to stick. And you've got to give the guy at least the same rights as all the people he's locked up over the years. That's how we do, generally speaking, in the good ol' US of A.
But the thing here is, the whole issue is not monolithic and there's not going to be some magic bullet, smoking gun or hot document that will tell the whole story and set everything right so Greensboro can live in utopian tranquility forevermore. You know as well as I do that things don't work like that.
All we can do is be reasonable, be fair and be consistent at getting to the bottom of this.
And honestly, if this thing has happened before the advent of the Greensboro blogosphere and, ahem, other new media outlets, this whole thing might have faded from sight after the first year.
Some, of course, would have preferred that. But it don't look like anybody on this thread is gonna let up anytime soon.
That's a good thing. Keep it up, guys.

Ed Cone

Sykes: "Will you make 'william''s ip address publicly available here?"

Absolutely not. It's a chilling thought, and a surprising one coming from an former journalist. I allow people to post here anonymously, and I honor confidentiality requests via email, phone etc.

But there's a lesson in the question: be careful out there, folks.

Ben Holder

"All we can do is be reasonable, be fair and be consistent at getting to the bottom of this."

I guess that means Clarey is gettin' out of the way. There is actually only one blog breaking news and providing docs. Everyone else is just trying to get in the picture.

Jeffrey Sykes

Ed: That's what I thought. But as a journalist, I also learned long ago, never hesitate to cover all the bases. You never know what might fall out from even the dumbest question.

I guess we will just let "william" hide behind his screen name with no vestige of credibility and blow smoke in everyone's face.

Somehow, in this drama, that seems fitting.

Ben Holder

"It's a chilling thought"

Or a Chilly thought

Ed Cone

Jeff, you seem to be arguing that I should out anonymous commenters, or at least sighing that I won't.

"We" aren't allowing William to do anything. I would encourage him, and others, to avoid anonymous comments at blogs that have not earned that trust.

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