Greensboro legal department denies police officer’s allegation

by Jordan Green

A lawyer for a Greensboro police officer who said he told the city legal department about an order to destroy files related to the 1979 Klan-Nazi shootings added new details today about the alleged conversation. And an assistant city attorney emphatically denied that the matter was discussed with her, but said the city is reviewing tapes to be certain.

Amiel Rossabi, who represents Officer Julius Fulmore, said that when Assistant City Attorneys ToNola Brown-Bland and Blair Carr met with dozens of black police officers at the law offices of Joe Williams in September 2005 while Chief David Wray was on a trip to Israel, Fulmore told Brown-Bland and Carr about the destruction of the files.

Rossabi said he did not have any evidence beyond Fulmore’s word that the conversation took place. “I would imagine that ToNola and Blair would have it in their interview notes,” he said. “I can’t imagine that they didn’t take notes.”

A report by the Raleigh-based consulting group Risk Management Associates noted that in this time period “approximately forty police department employees and others with relevant information had been interviewed by the city attorney’s office. The investigation had uncovered additional issues of concern regarding the management of the police department, including possible state law enforcement and standards violations, sexual/gender bias issues, and violations of the Personnel Privacy Act.”

The information was then reviewed by Risk Management Associates, which prepared its own report for the City Manager’s Office. In January 2006, Wray resigned rather than respond to allegations presented to him by City Manager Mitchell Johnson and City Attorney Linda Miles.

Afterwards, Brown-Bland said, the information was turned over to the police department’s internal affairs division under newly appointed interim Chief Tim Bellamy.

“I do not recall hearing any allegation like that, but if I did hear an allegation like that I would have passed it along to the police department, in particular internal affairs,” Brown-Bland said.

She added later: “As soon as the source’s name was revealed I looked at the transcript of the interview, and there’s no mention of this topic. In the meantime, just to make sure we’re covering all the bases, we’re reviewing the tape. If I find a difference I will let you know…. I’m positive at this point that I did not, but I do want to double check out of an abundance of caution.”

Brown-Bland said Carr was in the same room with her when the interview with Fulmore was conducted, indicating it is unlikely that Carr heard the allegation alone. She added that she talked by phone with Fulmore a couple months later and he brought two new matters to her attention, neither of which was the alleged destruction of the files.