dirt.politics, updates, trends and other vital information.White detective pressured associates to implicate black cop Internal affairs reports cast investigation of Officer Julius Fulmore in different light by Jordan GreenProstitute and informant Brenda Weidman identified GPD DetectiveJulius Fulmore (lower left) to Detective Scott Sanders in aphotographic lineup as someone who supplied cocaine to her and had sexwith her. Prosecutors declined to bring charges. (courtesy of JuliusFulmore)
In March 2005, following anine month administrative investigation and suspension, Greensboro police Officer Julius “Jay” Fulmore received a first-level reprimand from Sgt. Tom Fox, commanding officer of the special intelligence section. The discipline stemmed from a 2002 traffic stop of a prostitute named Brenda Weidman. The facts, Fox noted, were that Weidman and Fulmore became involved as informant and contact officer, and that Fulmore did not complete any informant contact cards or inform his supervisor about his dealings with Weidman. Ordinarily, such an event would seem unremarkable, little more than an embarrassing lapse buried in a police officer’s personnel file. Several things would set Fulmore’s case apart, and thrust him unwillingly into the center of a racially colored battle for hearts and minds in Greensboro. For starters, Detective Scott Sanders and two other white officers had made an aggressive attempt to connect Fulmore, who is black, to a hotel episode of drugs and sex with Weidman. Most galling for Fulmore’s detractors on and off the force, the special intelligence unit would be disbanded following the abrupt resignation of Chief David Wray, and Sanders and Fox would both be indicted on charges related to interfering with investigations by black officers. While Fulmore was suspended, Sanders and vice-narcotics detective Brian Bissett had turned their case files over to Guilford County Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann, who concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Fulmore, Cpl. N. Davis of the Professional Standards Division wrote in a report to Wray. The report was signed by Davis, Assistant Chief Craig Hartley and, ultimately, Wray himself. Black police officers would come to describe Sanders and his white cohorts as “the secret police.” “Since the development of the secret police, prostitutes and strippers have telephoned black employees of the police department trying to lure them into illicit and illegal conduct,” reads a letter from July 2005 that was addressed to then-District Attorney Stuart Albright and signed “THE CONCERNED.” “The secret police have sought out criminals who have known African-American police officers casually, provided them with a story to relate to the police officer and recorded conversation to see what kind of information would be divulged.” The author of the letter is not identified, and it remains unclear whether Albright, who is now a superior court judge in Guilford County, ever received it.
The letter is among extensive documents produced by Fulmore last fall in response to a discovery motion by writer Jerry Bledsoe and who are codefendants in a libel lawsuit. Information from the discovery materials later surfaced in accounts published in and The Troublemaker blog maintained by Winston-Salem resident Ben Holder. Amiel Rossabi, who is Fulmore’s lawyer, complained that those stories were written “out of context and incompletely.” The trouble for Fulmore started on June 3, 2004 when vice-narcotics Detective LT Marshall noted the officer’s name on the registry at the Red Carpet Inn for the previous night. Hotel staff informed Marshall that they suspected prostitution activity next door in Room 310, which had been occupied by Weidman, and in two other rooms, according to Davis. Marshall contacted Sanders and Bissett, and the three searched Room 311, the one registered to Fulmore. Among the evidence gathered was a beer bottle, a used condom, two open condom packages, cigarette butts, a test tube with a white residue that tested positive for cocaine, a metal rod and a torn cigarette box. The internal affairs report notes that “no crime scene investigator was called and no photographs were taken at the scene.” Weidman, who had been out when Marshall made his sweep, reportedly returned before noon. First she denied having been at the hotel the previous night, but then reportedly changed her story “after being confronted with the information that Detective Fulmore rented a room next to her room and she was seen going in and out of both rooms.” She reportedly told the detectives that she had called Fulmore the night before at about 11 p.m. and that she had joined him at Room 311. She reportedly continued that Fulmore had produced a bag of seven grams of cocaine and asked her to cook it. The report indicates that Weidman told the detectives that she smoked a small amount to confirm it was good, and that Fulmore had given her $100 worth of cooked cocaine and placed the rest of it in a plastic bag before the two had sex.
After Weidman identified Fulmore in a photographic lineup, she agreed to take a polygraph. The examination reportedly had to be restarted three times because Weidman kept falling asleep. Weidman’s credibility was also undermined by the fact that Fulmore had been at the hotel that night with a female friend, who readily admitted to investigators that the two had had sex. Fulmore told investigators that he had rented the room for an employee at his automotive shop and who had recently become homeless. The employee had used the room after Fulmore and his friend concluded their tryst. Police reports indicate that all three cooperated with investigators and provided consistent accounts. Fulmore’s two associates reported being threatened with criminal charges and public exposure by Sanders and the other two detectives if they didn’t cooperate in implicating Fulmore. The young woman was 19 or 20 at the time she met Fulmore. She wore her hair in long braids and a Department of Motor Vehicle photo shows her displaying a radiant smile. Police records show that she had been the reported victim of domestic violence at both the hands of her boyfriend and her stepfather, including an incident when she was 13 when police found her with blood on her face after her stepfather reportedly punched her. When police showed up at the family’s home on McConnell Road to investigate the assault, they found two babies, 5 and 22 months old, attended by the girl’s8-year old brother. The girl, then 13, told police that she cared for her younger siblings after her 27-year-old mother left in the evening to work overnight at a retirement home. Police records showed that the girl sometimes responded to stress at home by running away to her grandmother’s house. By all accounts, the young woman’s relationship with Fulmore proceeded from a foundation of kindness. “They met one day when she and her little girl were walking near her residence,” reads a narrative base on an August 2004 internal affairs interview with the woman. “The basis of their relationship is a friendship in which they would talk about every two months. Detective Fulmore would help her get personal problems sorted out. She advised he has never promised her or any of her friends any legal assistance. She has never met Detective Fulmore while he was on duty that she was aware of, and she has never been inside his city vehicle. Ms. Davis stated that she