Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 1

On August 1, 2016, Roch Smith Jr published Greensboro’s new secrecy: Sinister and hostile, a damming account of the activities of the public relations department of the City of Greensboro, Greensboro City Council, Greensboro Police Department, and high ranking City staff. It was indeed a scathing account in which Mr Smith pointed out a number of lies and deliberate attempts to mislead the public.

Since we here at also deal with this issue on an almost daily basis I thought I would put together a series of articles that document our own experiences and prove that what Mr Smith is saying is true.

And as always I'll include plenty of documents and e-mails to prove my case.

Roch writes of his attempt to get body camera videos in the incident involving the shooting and killing of Chris Tokazowskiby Greensboro Police:

"The city was reluctant to give up these records from the start and, sadly, willing to sacrifice personal and institutional integrity along the way. The people involved tried every unlawful, unethical and untruthful means they could think of to get me to give up and go away."

Correction: As sent to me by Roch:

"This is wrong: "Roch writes of his attempt to get body camera videos in the incident involving the shooting and killing of Chris Tokazowskiby Greensboro Police:"

My request was for records of the body camera assignments.

-- Roch"
Thanks Roch, I appreciate it when people actually take the time to make sure I get the story straight. I wish others would do the same.

Now allow me to tell you my own experiences with attempting to retrieve video and other public information from the City of Greensboro Code Enforcement Department and Greensboro Police Department. And please be mindful that all of this was long before North Carolina's latest restrictions on police body camera videos.

On January 2, 2015, Bulent Bediz was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer in front of his Lexington Ave home in the Glenwood neighborhood of Greensboro. Being I was there that day I found that to be of particular interest. Knowing Greensboro Police wear body cameras and having been told by a Greensboro Code Enforcement Officer who was on the scene that he had personally filmed Mr Bediz kicking the police officer I took it on my own to get copies of both videos.

Here you can read the official incident report, the GPD arrest report and my January 5, 2015 article, The Arrest Of Bulent Bediz: The Cover-Up Begins.

Oh, and those e-mails I copied and pasted in the original article? Here's screen grabs for those morons who will still accuse me of making it up:

Can you believe it, the Greensboro Legal Department actually attempted to block my request with
§§ 160-1 through 160-521: Repealed and Transferred..
So what happened next?

So what was in that attachment? Look below for a summary of all the reported calls in Mr Bediz's immediate neighborhood for the 24 hours of January 2, 2015. Nothing to be found on Lexington Ave.

Myself and Jeffrey Sykes of Yes Weekly personally saw over a dozen Greensboro Police Officers there but according to Guilford County 911 they were never there. Perhaps Guilford County 911 was never informed the Greensboro Police Officers were there. Perhaps GPD didn't want anyone to know they were there?

So who was the officer who falsely charged Bulet Bediz with attacking a police officer? None other than officer M P Kress, GPD's poster boy for body cameras, pictured here in this News & Fishwrap article, White House: Body cameras could improve public trust.

Wait, it gets better.

On Friday January 15 after having received the pictures and videos from Greensboro Code Enforcement I posted Bulent Bediz January 2 Arrest which included my e-mail to all 9 members of City Council:

That's right, Mayor Vaughan, I can keep copies of sent messages too. No one from the City of Greensboro ever replied. It's looking very much as if the Greensboro City Council and Greensboro Legal Department were all co conspirators in this plot against Bulent Bediz-- a plot to steal everything he owned, charge him with crimes he never committed, force him into bankruptcy and sell everything to the highest bidders who would then resell all of it to UNCG.

To make matters worse, the News & Fishwrap reported that on January 2, 2015:

"The city had 37 cars towed from the backyards of Bediz’s properties and from an area of the 800 block of Lexington Avenue with parking restrictions."
But as I pointed out in my January 17, 2o15 article, Greensboro City Employees Steal 5 Cars

"When I picked up the disk on Friday there were only 32 cars listed. Total. No, I didn't miscount they were numbered 1-32.
What happened to the other 5 cars? Did GPD and/or Code Enforcement officers conspire with Kirk-Sineath towing company employees to steal the cars?
I personally looked at these cars less than two weeks ago. These were running late model automobiles. Did they assume that because towing and storage bills would mount so quickly that Mr Bediz would never come to retrieve his cars and therefore they would never be caught?"

No one from the City of Greensboro ever bothered to reply to my questions as to what happened to the other 5 cars?

In my Friday, February 13, 2015 article, Greensboro Seeks Mediation In Bediz Trial I made the following points:

"Neither GPD nor City Staff ever bothered to answer my entire Public Information Request from over a month ago.
In over a month they never produced the following documents:
*911 CAD Report
I saw over a dozen officers there but apparently GPD doesn't know who they were.
*Use of Force Report
State law requires it be filled out any time force is used.
*Police Body Camera Videos
*Clarification as to "what parts of § 132-1.4. and 160-168 apply?"
 If you're going to make a claim that a great big statute applies you'd best be prepared to say what part of the statute applies. Otherwise you're just blowing smoke.
GPD claimed they had witnesses. GPD claimed they had videos. I got my hands on one of those videos made by Code Enforcement and gave it to Mr Bediz who gave it to his lawyer. Seems the video wasn't quite what they made it out to be. They never produced documents required by the State of North Carolina. There can only be one reason the City of Greensboro is asking Bulent Bediz to allow them mediation rather than a trial-- The City has no case."

Over a year later they still haven't answered.

On Friday, May 8, 2015 I reported City Of Greensboro Looses To Bulent Bediz.

"The City of Greensboro faced the judge today and lost in 2 cases involving Bulent Bediz. In both instances City Attournys were attempting to block Mr Bediz from going ahead with his lawsuits against the City but in both instances the judge ruled that Mr Bediz had a right to be heard."

On  Friday, July 24, 2015, I wrote: GPD Body Cameras Fail To Pay Off:

"According to a witness who was in the court room there was a court order to produce the police body camera video for Mr Bediz's trial just a few days ago but no such video was made available by the Greensboro Police Department. Supposedly there was a glitch, a malfunction of some sort.
This is the 3rd occasion the Greensboro Police Department has failed to prove accusations against Bulent Bediz-- when is enough, enough? Why didn't the Guilford County District Attorney and the presiding judge dismiss the charges on the spot? Why have the prosecutors not filed charges against GPD and the City of Greensboro on Mr Bediz's behalf? "

On Wednesday, September 9, 2015, I wrote Bulent Bediz Found Innocent in which I said:

"As I reported earlier, GPD was unable to produce in car video, body camera video and the Code Enforcement Video sent to me as proof of the incident showed no such actions on the part of Mr Bediz.
Seth Coen, lawyer for Mr Bediz, was able to convince the court that not only was the 70 year old Mr Bediz incapable of using the martial arts techniques that would have been required to kick the police officer but that the arrest of Bulent Bediz was in-fact unlawful and therefore any actions on the part of Mr Bediz would have legally been considered in self defense."

And as if I needed confirmation,

On Thursday, October 15, 2015, the Greensboro News $ Fishwrap published Judge: Officer didn't have right to remove man from vehicle:

“The officer told the judge ... he tried to remove Bediz from the vehicle to prevent him from driving away in a vehicle he knew was expired,” Neumann said. “The judge apparently felt the officer didn’t have the right to remove him.”

The case was heard by Guilford County District Court Judge Jan Samet.

“Judge Jan Samet did the right thing under the state and federal constitutions,” Bediz’s attorney Seth Cohen said."

To which I replied in my article that day, N&R Confirms Bediz Innocent:

"You want good cops in Greensboro? You have to throw out the City Council to get them."
And that, my friends, is why you need to support Billy Jones for Mayor of Greensboro in 2017 and share this with as many people as possible.

Oh, and stay tuned for Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 2, as that is just one of many such examples I can document of the City of Greensboro lying and hiding the truth from public view.