Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Police Internal Affairs investigation", "What happened after November 3, 1979?"

"...our review of material from the GPD and other sources demonstrate that the commitment to
“make the facts known” was unmet. Documents reviewed include previously unreleased IAD interviews and transcripts of testimony by GPD and city officials to a Federal Grand Jury and at the civil trial, as well as their responses to the civil suit discovery interrogatories and depositions and other discovery material collected by the plaintiffs. Rather than an effort to fully explore and communicate all the facts in an impartial manner, we find evidence of deliberate manipulation and concealment of the facts that we can only interpret as intended to sever the GPD from any responsibility.

...the IAD report shows a pattern of playing down certainty of information relating to the risks of violence and/or dismissal of the possible threats. This distancing strategy is consistent with public statements by GPD and city officials to the press and the Citizen’s Review Committee regarding knowledge of planning for the march.

...regarding the actual operations of the parade protection on Nov. 3, 1979, there are inconsistencies in police narratives regarding alleged “communication failures,” a pattern of removal of officers from the area at critical time points, inconsistencies that are not revealed or examined in the IAD report.

More troubling, there are deliberate omissions of important facts from the IAD investigation report, which were dismissed as “irrelevant” by Chief Swing, who had ultimate authority over the final report content. These omissions obscure the advance information police had and their failure to take adequate steps to prevent violence, as well as the failure to apprehend suspects and criminal evidence as cars fled the scene.

...The city of Greensboro’s Director of Public Safety, Hewitt Lovelace, repeatedly and emphatically claimed to the city-established Citizens Review Committee that, prior to Nov. 3, 1979, neither the city nor the police had any information about the China Grove confrontation between the WVO and the Klan. In fact, he repeated this assertion a remarkable seven times during his interview with the committee.

...his assertions are not borne out by the GPD’s own evidence. Almost as soon as Dawson
began providing information to Talbott and Cooper, GPD records of their conversations show that
he began talking about China Grove, a confrontation he personally found particularly galling. In an IAD interview, Talbott recalled that on Oct. 15 Dawson met with him and Cooper (only their second meeting), and in the course of discussing his desire to disrupt an RCP meeting recounted that the WVO sponsored an anti-Klan rally and march in China Grove. The incident, he said, “almost turned into a riot.”

...In his sworn Federal Grand Jury testimony, Lt. Spoon recalled that after the WVO march in Greensboro was announced, an intelligence memo on China Grove was circulated around the

...Lt. Ford, upon hearing from Dawson that the Klan planned to come and confront the WVO’s
anti-Klan rally, went to meet with Deputy Chief Burch to discuss the “potentially explosive situation” posed by such a confrontation. During this conversation Ford says he specifically mentioned the nearviolence at China Grove as one of his concerns regarding the security of the situation.

Both Capt. Hampton and Capt. Gibson recall that this volatile recent altercation in China Grove was also specifically mentioned by Cooper in the Nov. 1 executive planning meeting.  In addition, according to tactical officers Dixon and Clark, Cooper mentioned China Grove in the 10 a.m. line-up briefing on Nov. 3, 1979.

...The most clear cut and significant aspect of the GPD’s denial of knowledge the likelihood of violence is its downplaying of the number of Klansmen they expected to come to Greensboro from what informant Eddie Dawson reported as 85 to “approximately 10,” and even denying any “reliable information” that anyone would come at all.

...the potential discrepancy in starting locations was discussed on at least five separate occasions
by police planners, and on one occasion was discussed and clarified directly by Nelson Johnson to
Capt. Gibson.54 Further, in the police transcripts on the day of the shooting there was no discussion of confusion. Comer, although he and his men were waiting at Windsor, told his men that they might have to escort the demonstrators gathered there to Everitt and Carver at 11:30 a.m. to start the parade.

...The discrepancy was discussed at the Oct. 31 staff meeting.

It was discussed again at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 1.

Again at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1.

And a fifth time at 10 a.m. Nov. 3, 1979.

...the failure to provide safeguards at both locations is inexcusable and the claim that officers were confused about where the parade would start is simply not credible.

...officers were repeatedly called away from the area immediately around Everitt and Carver. Shortly before 11 a.m., officers Wise and Cundiff were on the block from that intersection on an unrelated domestic call when they were told by the frequency operator to “clear the area.”85 Additionally, at 11:03:15, OfficerMcMillan was at Dudley High School (four blocks away) and was called by the F3 operator from to police headquarters to pick up a reserve officer.

Further, Spoon sent Comer and Williams back to Windsor Center to look for Nelson Johnson at 11:01:36, even though the agreed starting point for the parade and the meeting point arranged between Johnson and Hampton were both at Carver and Everitt.

...the radio transcript shows that one second after Cooper announces the caravan is parking on
Everitt and Willow – just two blocks from the designated parade starting point – Spoon asks Daughtry, who was about three blocks from Morningside, to meet him at the train station, some 20 blocks in the opposite direction.

...Chief Swing admitted that the radio transcript released publicly in the IAD administrative report was altered and information deleted that was not deemed “relevant.”89 Among the omitted transmissions that were in earlier transcriptions but not in the final report are those of Wise and Cundiff being told to clear the area just before 11 a.m.

...Wise’s later radio transmission reporting that someone in a blue Ford Fairlane using a shotgun to threaten pedestrians on Gillespie Street immediately after the shooting was also omitted from radio transcripts in the report. officials and the GPD:

denied information about prior volatile confrontation between the WVO and Klan and
Nazis in China Grove, in which the Klan and Nazis brandished large firearms;

downplayed the information about the number of Klansmen and Nazis that they expected;

dismissed information that Klansmen and Nazis might have guns;

concealed repeated discussions about the apparent discrepancy in parade starting points;

falsely attributed the “low profile” approach solely to Capt. Hampton;

concealed inconsistencies in claims of communication “failures” at key moments;

omitted important information regarding police presence at Everitt and Carver and the failure to stop fleeing caravan vehicles.

Taken together, these facts lead us to conclude that both the GPD and key city managers deliberately misled the public about what happened on Nov. 3, 1979, the planning for it and the investigation of it. It is difficult to view these statements as sincere efforts to “make the facts known.” To the contrary, these statements can only be interpreted as a tactic to deflect blame away from the police department."