"...Gary Cepnick, news editor for the local WFMY station, recalled immediately after the shooting that he felt pressure from the City not to show the footage of the shootings. He recalled a visit from top City officials:
"The mayor and the police chief and the public safety officer and a deputy were all in the lobby and were wanting to come back to the newsroom and wanted to talk to us.
…the thrust of the conversation was, “Do we really think it is necessary to put this on the air… isn't it going to do more harm than good?”
…It was a very intimidating group. I was incredulous. I looked at them and I said, “I think you need to look at this from the perspective that this has been on the radio and it has been reported. People are aware … that it is going on and we are going to report it. We are going to put it on television. We were there. We witnessed it, we have footage that shows what happened. And we’re going to air it. And I’m sorry if you don’t agree with that, but you are not going to dictate editorial policy to us. I respect what you are telling me here, but we’re not going to…”
“But you are going to incite a riot.”
“Well we’ll have to take the chance. And we’ll have to live with that. We’ll have to live with the results of whatever happens. The public does have a right to know …This is something that people now want to know because they’ve heard about it. If they want to tune in and watch this they can judge for themselves … would you like to be interviewed?”
They didn’t. I don’t recall having the mayor on the air that night, but they expressed concern, but basically we went with the story itself without City reaction, without police reaction."
"The Revolutionary Worker portrayed the Greensboro Daily News and the Greensboro Record coverage, and law enforcement efforts around the march, as part of a campaign of fear to keep people away from the funeral march."
City officials contributed to this fear by broadcasting public service radio and television announcements urging people to stay away from the march.
On the day of the funeral march, the Revolutionary Worker described the scene:
"Downtown Greensboro was a virtual armed camp, where people were frisked once, twice, sometimes three times in several blocks walking from their cars to the rally site. Standing at attention on both sides of the hearses were rows of policemen with riot shotguns ready. Squads of National Guardsmen were blocking every intersection, with reserves in armored personnel carriers nearby. Undercover cops with walkie-talkies were swarming inside the gathering crowd. These combined cops outnumbered the demonstrators at least 2 to 1."
Somewhere between 400 and 1,000 CWP members and supporters participated in the march, along with nearly 1,000 law-enforcement officers and some 200 reporters.
...With an approach since 1979 that has focused on controlling “the low-income citizens group” and isolating those with unpopular political views, the City created distrust in the community that lingers to this day in Greensboro.
...Following the trauma of the shootings, the City missed the opportunity to reassure its most vulnerable citizens that their government institutions would protect them and would conduct a rigorous investigation into what happened on Nov, 3, 1979.
Instead, the City’s response to the shootings sought to restore “stability” by repressing citizen protest through 1) an attempted ban on public demonstrations, 2) the attempted block of the widely supported Feb. 2, 1980, march by trying to book the Coliseum, 3) the use of CRS rumor mongering to intimidate and red-bait.
These government actions, coupled with the CWP’s own aggressive and isolationist actions and rhetoric, served to splinter progressive citizen response.
City officials often spoke publicly in the aftermath of Nov. 3, 1979, about their concerns about Greensboro being portrayed in the national and international media as a racially troubled city.
Current city leaders still express similar concerns about Greensboro’s image...
...the Human Relations Commission effectively marginalized the report of the HRC-established Citizens Review Committee by dismissing findings and recommendations that were critical of the City and police."