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« Just do it | Main | Hack the vote »

Oct 24, 2008

Comments

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David Hoggard

Problem is, they probably won't report it at all, much less with vigor. Not because it is not news - which it is - but because it was first reported in the Rhino. That is normally the kiss of death for important news that is first reported by our local alt-weeklies.

I first heard of the sworn statement during an exchange on this blog between Jerry B and Sam sometime last week. The daily news folks had the same opportunity to run with it as everyone else, but allowed Jerry and the weekly Rhino to scoop them.

I expect little more than crickets chirping on this from the N&R and Frank @ FMY. I hope they surprise me, though.

Good work Sam and Roch. (I know, I ought to post this at Roch & Sam's places... I'm just lazy)

Spag

It is news that it was legitimate because it was first portrayed as illegitimate. Over time we have discovered that not to be the case- but let's not leave the impression that we knew that all along.

Ed Cone

Johnson's original memo to the Council acknowledges that the book may have been a legit tool, but that Wray got in hot water for hiding it.

You wrote six months ago that "the City claims they can't release the black book because it is a legitimate criminal investigative tool."

The news is that the alleged illegit uses did not happen.

Spag

That's pretty much right, Ed. In order for the City to shield the Black Book from disclosure under public records law, they would have to assert that it was legitimate. Otherwise, it would not be protected and they would have to release it. Hence, my question. They tried to have it both ways until forced to pick one.

Ed Cone

There is no contradiction in saying that a document created for legitimate purposes may have been used for illegitimate purposes as well. The definitive statement that the black book was not used for illegitimate purposes, as some officers are reported to have alleged, is news.

Here's what Mitch Johnson was saying in February of this year: "From my very first press conference until today I have never said that the 'black book' was definitively a profiling document. In fact, even though I have been constantly goaded by the media to say more, I have stated that it may have been an appropriate investigative document but that I could not say for sure because it depended on the outcome of the various investigations. The issue of the 'black book' has always been one of truthfulness on the part of the former Chief regarding the existence of the document."

Anthony

"There is no contradiction in saying that a document created for legitimate purposes may have been used for illegitimate purposes as well."

I've said that to Sam quite a few times in the past, but for some reason he could never see my point.

jc

from Bledsoe- "For more than two-and-a-half years, Johnson acted to keep the City Council and the public from knowing the reality of the photo lineups. Only when he was deposed under oath and facing the potential of a perjury charge did he verify the truth."

Why would our city manager hide the truth for so long and why would he want to in the first place?

Can this guy be trusted at all?

Roch101

Chief Bellamy said there was no legitimate purpose for the line-up book. WFMY reported that. The N&R reported the suspicions and accusations that "secret police" were using the book for nefarious purposes. Bellamy, WFMY and the N&R have an obligation here.

Spag

Anthony, that is simply not accurate. I specifically asked whether the City had any documentation that the Black Book was used for an illegitimate purpose and Mitch Johnson said they did not. Where you get that I ever dismissed your argument escapes my memory because I don't recall addressing that point and it is clear in my pleadings that I was addressing both considerations. The City got boxed in and had to make a choice. Evidence of an illegitimate use would have been discoverable on its own in the absence of some other exception to the public records law, and the City could not claim a personnel records exception simply by considering the "black book" part of someone's personnel file.

These are very narrow legal arguments that hinge on very specific facts and are also compounded by uncertainty in the public records laws.

The simple fact is that the City has nothing to document Mitch Johnson's assertion of any improper use of the "black book". That was one of the key admissions that Roch and I sought from them and one that we got.

Ed Cone

Roch, I agree. That's why I keep saying it's news.

Roch101

"City Manager Mitchell Johnson claims the special intelligence division used the book to conduct bogus investigations of black officers." -- Frank Mickens, WFMY, January 27, 2006

Anthony

Sam,

Here's one example, from your blog. Read the whole discussion starting with my June 4 comment.

Spag

Anthony, there is nothing in that thread to support your assertion that I ever disputed the possibility you raised. All I said was that there was no evidence of an illegitimate use so your argument was based on speculation. Mitch Johnson has confirmed that he has no documentation to support any illegitimate use and admitted that the book was created for a legitimate purpose.

Roch101

Actually, the full paragraph from Mickens/WFMY was this:

"City Manager Mitchell Johnson claims the special intelligence division used the book to conduct bogus investigations of black officers. He says it contained photos of 19 black officers and nearly a hundred other black males."

That directly contradicts Johnson's assertion Ed cites above that he had "never said that the 'black book' was definitively a profiling document." He had (or Mickens made that up).

Anthony

Sam, I didn't say you "disputed" it, I said you could never see my point - in other words, you didn't get the point that I was making. Which is demonstrated by how many times in that thread you and others kept saying "But there's no evidence of any illegitimate use!" even though that completely misses the point I was making. I agree that there was no evidence given. The point was that the two claims weren't mutually exclusive.

You started to kind of get it with your last comment on that post, but you seem to be missing it again here.

At any rate, there's no sense in rehashing it. Let's both just go re-read that thread a few times and pretend we typed it all here.

Ben Holder

Mitch changing a story is nothing new. He does it all the time. Most of you have been told the story about Mitch having to fire Wray because Wray lied. He lied to Mitch about Hinson and an ongoing multi-jurisdictional investigation. Remember? That is what this is all about. Wray lied to Mitch and it is as simple as that.

Mitch and his supporters have repeatedly claimed that Wray lied about an ongoing multi-jurisdictional drug investigation involving James Hinson. Wray said that talking about it could hurt the investigation. However, Mitch Johnson later claimed that the investigation was over when Wray said it was not. Got it?

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Greensboro Chief of Police Tim Bellamy sent a letter to the US Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, Anna Mills Wagoner in Ocotber of 2006. The letter was about Jerry Bledsoe's Cops in Black and White. Specifically, the issue titled "Hinson Takes Center Stage."

Greensboro leaders contradicted the old Wray lied story in their letter dated October of 2006 when they claimed: "I felt it was important to everyone that we discuss the series of articles in The Rhinoceros Times by Jerry Bledsoe entitled Cops in Black and White. The information presented in these articles is of great concern to the law enforcement community. Of particular concern was an article dated September 21 entitled Hinson Takes Center Stage, which, as we discussed, contained detailed information of past and ongoing investigations. Moreover, during the meeting, a member of your staff confirmed that the article included detailed verbatim notes from federal law enforcement investigative reports."

"I am very disappointed that you do not feel the public release of such information requires any action by your office. The release of this information has negatively impacted ongoing investigations in many ways, including with regard to cooperating witnesses and informants, as we discussed. The release has potentially compromised two ongoing missing persons/homicide investigations and your staff stated that it has also negatively affected ongoing federal investigations."

Does it sound like someone might have told Wray to keep his mouth shut about Hinson and ongoing multi-jurisdictional stuff prior to his connect the dots press conference? Seriously, what did Wray lie about?

Spag

Ben, yours is a point I made well over a year ago in a post on my site and in the comments here when it has been brought up. It is also a point that Ed in particular seems to play antics with semantics to try and dispute.

Ben Holder

Spag,

You must ignore Ed's lack of ability to understand what is happening. He is not as smart as you and I.

Ben Holder

Ed wrote: Here's what Mitch Johnson was saying in February of this year: "From my very first press conference until today I have never said that the 'black book' was definitively a profiling document. In fact, even though I have been constantly goaded by the media to say more, I have stated that it may have been an appropriate investigative document but that I could not say for sure because it depended on the outcome of the various investigations. The issue of the 'black book' has always been one of truthfulness on the part of the former Chief regarding the existence of the document."

Undercover: A unit full of secrets
Greensboro News & Record (NC)-January 15, 2006
Author: LORRAINE AHEARN

"Wray countered in a written statement that the black three-ring binder had only been compiled and used to identify a suspect in a single case: A prostitute's complaint that a police officer groped and sexually assaulted her during a strip search last January.

But City Manager Mitchell Johnson said investigators concluded otherwise - that there were numerous instances of the book being shown to criminal defendants in an attempt to target black officers among the 19 pictured in the book. Defendants were told, in Johnson's words, 'If you ID an officer, we might help you out....' "

Sounds like a profiling document to me.

Ed Cone

As I've said repeatedly, it's news that Johnson is on the record saying there is no evidence that the array was misused, and it should be reported by the local media.

Ben Holder

Saying the media should report it is not even close to the real issue here Edward. Why didn't Mitch the transparent do no wrong manager hold a press conference the minute he learned this? Why did he not tell the council about his new stance? Why was it done in such a hush hush manner? Mich is hardly the great do no wrong leader you dream about night after night. You should hold him more responsible than JR and WFMY. What about the $700,000 for the EEOC guys? It is way bigger than you claim. Why hasn't the N&R said anything? Did you see JR's half assed comment to Roch at JR's blog? Could it be the sale of Canada Dry that has JR kissing Mitch's rings?

Spag

Why do you suppose the local media have not reported this story, Ed?

Ben Holder

I got this, Spag. You simmer down and take a couple dozen comments off. Watch and learn. You may be a lawyer and the cause of Mitch's most recent public dookie stain, but I am the World Heavyweight Champion.

Oh, you need some proof? Really? Shall I go find some proof in a thread? Unfortunately, Ed's archives suck. I can't get March of 2008 to come up. It is probably some big ass conspiracy Ed and Mitch dreamed up. Anyway, on March 6, 2008, David Hoggard made a comment on Ed's blog about how great I am. So, blame Ed for covering it up. I had proof but I can't cut and paste it here because of the conspiracy. Anyway, I better get to Ed before he get's his big brain warmed up and working at full speed. Nothing beats a surprise attack.

Ed,

I know you were expecting Spag..but..instead..BAM...it's the Mighty Ben Holder....AKA The Troublemaker...Woooooooooooooooooooo.....That is what Ric Flair says. Ric Flair says, "Wooooooooooooooooooooo." It is pronounced as W-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o. Ask Mr. Sun about it if you still don't get it.

I have some questions for you. You may pick a friend to help you answer the tough ones. However, you may not use Joe Killian. That just wouldn't be fair. He was recently attacked and I don't think he is up to my questions mentally or physically. I doubt you are either but you didn't get ruffed up by PAT (Palin's Assault Team) like Killian did. You probably did not even have the guts to go to Elon and face Palin. What did you do, send your wife to take some pics instead?

Now I am gonna hit you with pregunta numero uno. You ever seen Spag use Spanish? Also, notice how numero uno is a five part question that includes parts A-D. Part A actually includes two questions. That would be dos preguntas. I did that to piss some of you off. I am gonna bring total chaos up in this questionnaire. We are gonna have a pregunta fiesta! I bet Ed is really getting confused.

Ed, BAM...Go for it!

1. Why do you suppose Mitch has not called a press conference about this?
A. Why did he not clear up surveillance? Why did the media not report the facts about surveillance? I did it first (duh) then Jordan Green came along much later with his watered down version.
B. Why hasn't the N&R called Rick Ball about surveillance? Why, Ed? Why? This is fun!
C. Why hasn't Frank Mickens corrected himself? Did Mitch actually report to Mickens that: "City Manager Mitchell Johnson claims the special intelligence division used the book to conduct bogus investigations of black officers. He says it contained photos of 19 black officers and nearly a hundred other black males?"
D. Mickens make it up?

Ed, you need to answer these questions ASAP and I am not fooling' around either. You need to email Mickens and get to the bottom of this.

Here is Mickens email: fmickens@wfmy.gannett.com

Oh how I hope you contact Mr. Mickens. Then you could make a post about it. You know, the "I emailed someone important posts" that you do so well? After you get to the bottom of that, then maybe..just maybe...it will appear on Effed Up.

Ben Holder

I just thought I would check to see if Ed said anything. Stand by, Spag

Ed Cone

One simple reason that the N&R hasn't responded (beyond JR's blogged comment that he'll look into it on Monday) might be that they operate with a skeleton crew on weekends -- I think there's one person on duty each day (discussed here). They simply are not set up to function as a serious newspaper from Friday PM until back-to-work time on Monday.

I don't know much about local TV news, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was much the same story there.

I think Johnson's statement is news, but I don't think it is quite the deus ex machina some are calling it.

Chuck Barris

Ed..GONG !

Ben Holder

Ed,

That was probably the weakest answer you could have given.

Nobody said it was the deus ex machina. It is however, another example of Mitch changing his story silently. I understand that you are probably one of the least informed and one of the most biased people that blog about the Wray Fray, but even you should see how this should change the $700,000 plus EEOC payment plan Mitch is working on.

As far as your man power theory, N&R and WFMY have had plenty of time to write about it. Geesh, it really must be hard sticking up for your sorry ass Mitch Mates. Why didn't Mitch give a public statement? You forgot that one. Not surprisingly.

Roch101

Ben is trying to drive home an additional point, yet to be acknowledged by Ed. While Ed acknowledges that the announcement of no illegitimate use of the book is news, it is also news because it doesn't just put to rest a possibility Johnson entertained (that the book was used illegitimately), it contradicts assertions Johnson made that the book was used illegitimately. While the city manager did stop short, at times, of saying that the book was used illegitimately, at other times, to WFMY and in the Ahearn N&R article, he said that the book WAS used illegitimately.

Ben is challenging you, ED, to go beyond acknowledging that the pronouncement of no illegitimate use is news and to acknowledge that it is additionally newsworthy as a change/correction/contradiction of Johnson's previous assertions.

Ed Cone

Sure, Johnson should address any comments he made on the subject.

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