I don’t even know where to begin these days. If you think I have been silent for lack of anything to say, it actually has been the complete opposite!! There is so much going on that I can’t focus on one thing to talk about. However, recently in our local newspaper, the headlines covered a story where a black city councilwoman went out at 1:37 am to get arrested by the city police. I quote, “I heard you guys were doing this and I knew I could get you to do it.” The police report is published and I have a copy of it here and have read it thoroughly.
Here’s the scenario: A black person goes out to “test the waters” and see if the police are racially profiling downtown. They attract a police officer, become rude and defensive, and the police do their job of removing a disorderly citizen off the streets for some cool-down time. This black person gets arrested, charged with second-degree trespassing and resisting an officer and taken downtown. Within hours, the police officer gets in trouble, taken off the streets and on administrative leave, thankfully with pay. The black person gets the attention of the NAACP and the Southern Christian leadership conference which fly to the scene and hold a press conference stating that they side with the black person and calling for the Police Chief’s removal of office. Once again, the racial card is played.
It happened here in Pitt County, North Carolina. The Pitt County NAACP President, Calvin Henderson, said that they gathered beause of a “serious miscarriage of justice.” Completely disregarding the facts in the situation! The NAACP feels that this was an example of racial profiling by the office, who didn’t recognize the arrested woman as a city council member. Yep, you read it right, this person serves on the city council!! Ms. Kandie Smith, District 1 councilwoman went out that night to “act as any person might in the situation and didn’t want to be given special consideration because of her position.” Henderson, asked, “How many of you who are employed don’t know your boss?” Henderson also said blacks, shouldn’t have to walk around in fear in our community” simply because of the color of their skin. I agree! But this is not the case! This young lady was, according to the police report, rude questioning the officer, and saying “You can’t tell me what to do” (Does this sound like a respectable city council member?) The officer was complying with an ordinance that went into effect in July 2009 for the citizen’s protection in the Code of Ordinances Chapter 1, Section 12-1-11 which states:
SEC. 12-1-11 UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY IN CITY-OWNED PARKING LOT AND TRESPASS UPON
PRIVATELY OWNED PARKING LOT.
(A) City-owned parking lot. It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble with one or more other persons on a
city-owned or controlled parking lot except for the purpose of lawfully parking a vehicle in the lot. It shall not be a violation of this section to lawfully park a vehicle in a city parking lot and leave the lot without delay, or go upon a city parking lot and without delay proceed to a lawfully parked vehicle and then leave.
(B) Constitutional exception. The prohibition in subsection (A) above shall not apply to a congregation of persons
pursuant to any lawfully issued permit for a parade, demonstration, picketing or other event or congregation protected under the Constitution of the United States or this state.
(C) City parking lot defined. The term “city parking lot,” as used in this section, shall mean any parking lot owned or
controlled by the city and maintained for public or public and leased space parking.
(D) Privately owned parking lot. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter or remain upon any privately owned
parking lot or publicly owned lot owned by a governmental entity other than the city after normal working hours and on
weekends when the owner, lessee or authorized agent has posted a sign or signs clearly stating the prohibition. The sign(s) shall be placed in a position where it is clearly visible and shall contain the following language:
NO PARKING OR TRESPASSING BETWEEN
________P.M. and ________A.M.
VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED
Were there signs on the parking lot? However, when she began to argue with the police officer, it really doesn’t matter where you are, you are resisting an officer, period! In the police report, which Henderson refuses to believe deeming it “very misleading”, Officer Groccia reports that Ms. Smith was defiant to his thrice request that she keep moving. He was following the procedures implemented back in July 2009 in response to a shooting in the downtown area. The Greenville Police ordinance of July 2009 instructs their officers as follows:
Officers should be alert to potential troublemakers and take appropriate enforcement action to alleviate that potential. When troublemakers are identified officers should remove them from the area to prevent and diffuse potentially violent situations. Additionally, in keeping with the philosophy established by the loitering ordinance, officers should ensure that patrons are not allowed to stagnate on the sidewalk.
According to Officer Groccia’s report, just prior to his altercation with the defiant Ms. Smith, he and his partner asked two groups of males that they needed to go inside the store or go elsewhere, they heeded their request and left peacefully. Others in the area left as well.
My question: with all the evidence of this situation blatantly pointing to the arrogance of this city council member and her complete display of disrespect for her fellow public servants, why in the heck does this indicate ANYWHERE racial profiling? My bet is that if she had been as respectful as the other groups were, there would not have been ANY problems, but when you are defiant and acting as a "troublemaker" which Ms. Smith herself revealed to the paper,“
I heard you guys were doing this and I knew I could get you to do it.”police are to take appropriate action. Officer Groccia was doing his job, period!
Daily Reflector June 8th and 9th 2010
Greenville Police Dept: Downtown Deployment Strategy, July 2009