Meet Joe. Joe is young, still wet behind the ears. Joe isn't his real name but Joe is what I'll call him to protect his life, as snitches don't live long in the North Carolina Prison system.
Last Monday morning Joe bought a used car from a friend and left her house driving the car with no insurance. Her tags were still on the car but she had stopped paying her monthly premiums to Geico Insurance.
Previously, Joe had been arrested on various drug charges, assault charges, weapons charges... you name it, Joe did it. But Joe managed to stay out of jail by becoming a confidential informant.
Last Monday evening at around 4:00 PM, Joe, with his girlfriend in the car with him, crashed his tiny car head on into my Mother's parked 98 Mercury Marquis driving the giant Mercury backwards no less than 11 feet and totaling both cars on the usually quiet residential street where she lives.
The good news: thanks to uninsured motorist coverage, Momma has gotten a generous settlement from her insurance company, Nationwide, is selling back the car and I will be fixing it so that she can continue to drive 1/2 mile to church twice a week. That's good as getting her in and out of my standard height pick-up truck requires that I place a step in front of the door each time she gets in and out. Let's hope all of you have someone to help you when you become elderly.
When I heard the crash I ran outside and saw Joe and his girlfriend running away from the crash. I shouted, "Where in the hell do you think you're going?" but they just kept running.
One block to the east, my brother heard the crash and walked out of his house to see if he could see what had happened. Joe ran straight into him. My brother recognized Joe because Joe lives 2 doors down from my brother. Joe's younger brother lives with their parents straight up the street from me 2 blocks in the other direction and works at a business in the neighborhood.
It turns out that most everyone in the neighborhood with the exception of myself and Momma knew who Joe was. Including my next door neighbors who witnessed the accident.
As a matter of fact, when a Greensboro Police Officer finally arrived over 30 minutes later and we described Joe and his girlfriend to him, he stopped in the middle of filling out his accident report and drove straight to Joe's house where my brother was standing waiting for Joe to come back out.
Apparently the cop knew Joe as well.
And everyone, black and white, was shocked when the cop didn't search the car Joe left behind despite being filled with evidence of having been used as a place to roll blunts.
But Joe didn't come out, not even to get in the taxi he had called to take his girlfriend to Cone Hospital. Instead, the two of them escaped out the back and went from hiding place to hiding place calling taxis to pick them up.
Problem is: despite the fact that I'm an asshole, everybody loves my Momma. Ms Jones, as everyone here calls her, founded the first such night out event in Greensboro a year before National Night Out began, in her front yard. Dozens upon dozens of neighbors, police officers and others came from miles around as my brothers and I parked cars in the crack dealer's yard across the street. The next morning the crack dealers and their violence, were gone.
Momma also taught school all over east Greensboro for many years. She's 84 now but her former students black and white still remember and love her as she never met a child she didn't love. She helped to raise several generations of children in the neighborhood black and white. All the neighbors know she dearly loves her black great granddaughters and the black man who fathered them. And then there were her many years of volunteering in a neighborhood food pantry.
All this led to people from all over the neighborhood joining in the chase for Joe and scaring off his taxis.
But eventually Joe did manage to get his girlfriend to Cone Hospital where police found him and charged him with hit and run.
But they didn't arrest Joe.
Interestingly, when I got the accident report I decided to do some research on Joe.
I found the long list of various crimes I mentioned above but there was something strange going on. I found the accident report online on Wednesday but on Thursday the accident report was no longer online.
Later Thursday, I discovered that Joe had shot 2 people in his home on Wednesday night. Now, suddenly, everything I had previously discovered about Joe had mysteriously disappeared from the Internet. That is, everything except the shooting.
I guess a shooting is just too big to cover up.
So what we have here is the police allowing Joe to continue to spiral out of control, unchecked, committing bigger and bigger crimes, endangering more lives, putting more people at risk so cops can score the big bust at the expense pf poor and minority neighborhoods. There is really no end to how many crimes or how many people Joe's drug dealing and violence could have touched had he not shot 2 people in his home that night, forcing the Greensboro Police Department to reel him in.
All so someone can get a star on his work record, a promotion, a raise, and GPD, like police departments across the nation, can confiscate money and property to buy new cop toys.
You see, Joe came to believe that as long as he remained a confidential informant he could do anything he wanted to do. Between his own drug habit and his fantasy that he would never be punished for his crimes, Joe continued to escalate.
And all of East Greensboro's poor and minorities lose while our middle class pays to send young Joe to the Hardened Criminal Training Institute known as the North Carolina Prison System where he will get out in just a few years with an advanced degree in the Art and Science of Committing Criminal Acts that Pay.
Please share if you're ready to change the way things are done here in Greensboro, North Carolina, ready to start providing opportunities rather than the road to prison, hope instead of death, and to make Greensboro the beacon the rest of the world wishes to become.