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Shine a light

Change is afoot here in Greensboro, where a new city manager, Rashad Young, came on just a couple months ago, a newly elected city council takes its seats this week and a brand new mayor, Bill Knight, takes the helm.

Knight ran largely on the premise that former Greensboro Police chief David Wray got a raw deal, and one of the major planks of his platform was the restoration of Wray’s reputation and pay for his legal expenses — eerily similar to the stated purpose of true-crime writer Jerry Bledsoe’s ongoing “Cops in Black and White” series which has been running in the Rhinoceros Times for almost four years and has thus far reached about 100 installments.

It is worth mentioning that Bledsoe is being sued by two officers in the GPD for his work.

But no matter which side of the argument you fall on, the new council seems to have been elected with the mandate to set right what went wrong back in 2005 — namely, to get to the bottom of the Wray episode and all its attendant hoopla.

Fortunately, the new council will have an opportunity to do this right off the bat.

Right now several key pieces of evidence sit in official custody that would undoubtedly shed some light on the circumstances surrounding Wray’s resignation after being locked out of his office by then City Manager Mitch Johnson. Among them are some 140 hours of recordings made by former detective Scott Sanders while he was engaged in investigations of African-American officers 2002 and 2005.

These tapes are currently under consideration as evidence in the lawsuit against the Rhino Times, and a judge decides next week if they are to be made public.

But if the lawsuit against the city goes to trial as opposed to being settled out of court for cash, these tapes should become a matter of public record. For our part, we guarantee we will listen to every single minute of them.

Also in the city’s hands rest the files from the internal investigations of Sanders, which Chief Tim Bellamy said ended in November.

Internal investigations are a different matter than civil and criminal procedures, but the city council has the authority to release the documents pertaining to these investigations.

District 4 council member Mary Rakestraw, who has sided with the Wray/Sanders faction in the police department imbroglio, has said she wants this information made public. In this, we stand squarely by her side.

This issue has for far too long been shielded from public view by vested interests. In the aftermath, lines have been drawn and rifts have formed, not only in the police department, but on council and among the citizenry. We understand that it is second nature for a bureaucrat to withhold information, but this situation is approaching critical mass. In this case, sunlight is not only the best disinfectant, but the only one. YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration

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