Former gang unit officer’’s job on the line

Officer AJ Blake remained on unpaid leave from the Greensboro Police Department as of Monday. Blake was convicted of two counts of assault on a female in Guilford County Court, but appealed the convictions to superior court. Despite the fact that his trial is scheduled for July 27, the police department held an administrative hearing on July 17 to determine whether the officer would keep his job. Blake said he expected to learn the department’s decision on Tuesday (July 21). Blake has proclaimed his innocence of the assaults. A former member of the gang unit, Blake has accused the squad of abusing its authority. Blake is also among 39 black officers suing the department for alleged racial discrimination. The day before the officer’s administrative hearing, a small group gathered in front of the police department to express support. “When justice comes in the form of a 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8 man and his fiancee that have been crushed to earth, have the dignity stripped from them, have money taken from their wallets, food taken from their mouths in a city that sounds so beautiful, that has beautiful buildings and structures, that has beautiful songs, has a beautiful gateway to the city, but you see as a young man I started feeling frustrated because what do you do when a man 5-foot-7comes in the form of justice and steps into a Wednesday meeting and says that ‘I need help’?” said Wesley Morris (left), an organizer at Beloved Community Center. “What do I do as a young, black man?” — Jordan Green