Morethan three years after the resignation of police Chief David Wray, thecity of Greensboro faces a second racial discrimination lawsuit basedon official go-ahead from the US Justice Department’s civil rightsdivision.
Thefirst was filed by 39 black officers; the second comes from OfficerJulius Fulmore, a bitter rival of Scott Sanders, the detective whosejob for the better part of three years was to keep tabs on black copsaccused of wrongdoing. Fulmore’s lawsuit repeatedly argues adouble standard against the plaintiff and other black officers, andwhile the specific merits could end up being decided by testimony aboutpolice practices and examination of standard operating procedures, it’sclear that Sanders did little else besides investigate black officers.Sanders reported directly to Deputy Chief Randall Brady, a personalfriend of Wray’s who came up through the ranks with the chief. Sanders,who is nicknamed Scooter, was acquitted of a criminal charge ofillegally accessing one of Fulmore’s computers in February. MichaelLongmire, the lead investigator for Risk Management Associates, or RMA,wrestled with Sanders’ role during a November 2005 discussion with anuncooperative Brady about a lengthy investigation of another blackofficer, Lt. James Hinson, that was interrupted by a probe into an allegation by a Guilford County Jail inmate that Fulmore was involved with a drug dealer.
“Yougot this very serious allegation against a police officer… and a numberof other black police officers,” Longmire said to Brady at the time.“You find it so important to get to the bottom of it that you assign itto a special investigator, not within the normal process used toinvestigate officers, so you can get to the truth. And you let it dragon for a couple years because he’s busy doing something else. From alayperson — from the outside, that’s the message I’m getting, thatyou’ve got a situation that’s so sensitive that you’ve taken outsidethe normal process. It drags on for a couple of years and thenit just disappears, but it doesn’t disappear does it? I mean, Scootercontinues to investigate these same allegations, the same issues, andthese same investigators [SIC] up through probably today.” Wray,Brady and Sanders are all white. Fulmore’s lawsuit, which was filed onMay 21, alleges that following Wray’s appointment as chief in 2003, he“created and developed a pattern and practice of investigating anddisciplining black officers, including Officer Fulmore, more harshly,and paying and promoting black officers, including Officer Fulmore,less favorably, than white officers in the GPD.” Officers “charged withthe same criminal or administrative violations were not investigated ordisciplined in a uniform manner,” the suit charges. “It appears thatmore scrutiny and discipline were applied to black officers.” Effortsto reach David Wray, who was hired as a security director withresponsibility for three airports in eastern Tennessee by the USTransportation Security Administration last year, proved unsuccessful. “Oneof the GPD’s goals in undertaking the discriminatory investigations wasto destroy the reputations of black GPD officers and to prevent themfrom receiving promotions, meritorious assignments, pay raises andother additional forms of compensation,” Fulmore charges. “Another ofthe GPD’s goals in undertaking the discriminatory investigations was toterminate and/or imprison black officers.” The lawsuititemizes at least a dozen alleged acts of discrimination in its bill ofparticulars, nearly all of them involving Detective Scott Sanders. Theyrange from the creation and use of three lineups and photo arrays ofblack officers, multiple searches of various computers used by Fulmore,three investigations, at least one attempt to entice the officer intocriminal activity, and a transfer based on an administrative violation. If the Greensboro City Council chooses not to settle withFulmore, the courts will have to determine the exact role of lineups ofblack officers that were allegedly used in discriminatory internalinvestigations, but the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionappears to have little doubt as to the purpose. “Testimony anddocumentary evidence confirms that [Greensboro’s] chief of policemaintained a book which contained personal and confidential informationon black police officers,” wrote Jose Rosenberg, the local EEOCdirector in Greensboro in a July 2007 letter to Fulmore. “Furthermore,there is evidence to support that said book was used to attempt toobtain incriminating evidence on black officers. “A review ofthe record shows that non-black officers were not subjected to thistype of treatment,” Rosenberg continued. “Based on this analysis, Ihave determined that the evidence obtained during the investigationestablishes a violation of the [Civil Rights Act] statute and indicates[Fulmore] was discriminated against.”
Akind of legend has attached itself to the 49-year-old Officer JuliusFulmore, called Jay, a physically imposing lawman with craggy features. Fulmore and Tim Bellamy, who succeeded Wray as chief, workedundercover in vice-narcotics in the late 1980s. Bellamy recalls that itwas 1987 or so when the two made the first known crack-cocaine arrestin Greensboro. It took place at a faded establishment called the GoldenEagle Hotel, then across the street from the News & Recordbuilding. “We got calls from numerous sources, that there wasa guy selling some dope that had never been in Greensboro,” Bellamyrecalled recently. “We got this information, went to see for ourselves,and started seeing people go in and out of the room. We were able to goup and purchase drugs our own selves. We made several direct buys andthen we went in and made the arrest. We recovered what was found to becrack cocaine.” Bellamy remembered the dealer as being 17 or18, and from Florida. “He and others went to different states wherethere wasn’t crack at that time,” the chief said, “and they sold out ofhotels.” Fulmore’s lawsuit cites numerous accolades: Officerof the Year during his first year on the vice squad, federal DrugEnforcement Administration recognition awards and an FBI commendation.His reputed skills at undercover work may have also fed rumors amongsome of his colleagues that he had gone over to the dark side. If cityofficials fail to appreciate the humiliation of being transferred tolowly patrol in 2005 after failing to properly document contact with aprostitute-informant, the lawsuit spells out exactly what was lost. “Asa result of Officer Fulmore’s successful work in Greensboro andthroughout the state and pursuant to mutual aid agreements, OfficerFulmore began to receive recognition from other state and federal lawenforcement agencies,” the lawsuit reads. “Officer Fulmore was thenasked to join, and was sworn as a member of multiple federal taskforces, which is a great honor and is reserved for only a handful ofofficers. In addition to added honor and prestige, municipal officers,including Officer Fulmore, serving on federal task forces receivesubstantial additional financial compensation for such service.” In2001, Fulmore was transferred to the special intelligence division,which was charged with handling civil disorders, street gangs,demonstrations, terrorist activity, organized crime and drugenforcement, along with providing security for visiting dignitaries andcity council meetings alike. Both Fulmore and Sanders, whowould join special intelligence a year later, described the squad’swork as “sensitive.” Fulmore testified at Sanders’ trial he was“constantly on the defense” with Sanders, and that the “two had notreally established a working relationship.” Fulmore stayed onvarious multi-agency task forces that he had helped create, and one ofFulmore’s partners was Mark Heinbach, an agent with the US Housing& Urban Development Department. “We worked a lot of long hours together,” Heinbach testified during the Sanders trial. “I’d trust him with my life.”
The Wray era IfFulmore experienced difficulties with colleagues like Sanders beforethe departure of Robert White, a hard-charging black chief who leftGreensboro to head the Louisville Metro Police Department in Kentucky,they multiplied with appointment of David Wray to the job of chief in2003. “Within the first week of Wray’s tenure, Wray held a mandatorymeeting of the ‘command staff’ and all supervisors of the GPD,”Fulmore’s complaint states. “At that meeting, Wray stated that he wasgoing to go in his own direction and that he ‘was willing to takecasualties.’” Not surprisingly, Wray views those days througha different lens. “At the time David Wray was promoted to chief, thecity manager, Ed Kitchen, discussed with David Wray the perception thatintegrity and high standards had deteriorated under Chief White,” readsa lawsuit filed by Wray against the city, “and that as chief, DavidWray would need to take appropriate steps to restore the integrity andhigh standard s that were maintained under Chief Daughtry.” Fulmore’slawsuit alleges that as part of the department’s “discriminatorypolicies, Brady, at the direction of Wray, created and implemented apattern and practice of assigning Sanders to investigate allallegations against black GPD officers of criminal conduct oradministrative violations of GPD regulations.” Sanders wouldlater testify that only three people were aware of his investigations:Wray, Brady and Sgt. Craig McMinn, his supervisor in specialintelligence. Brady confirmed during his interview with RMA’sLongmire that Sanders “did report to me on sensitive cases.” Bradyacknowledged that he and Sanders would talk several times a week, andrecalled that on one occasion McMinn complained that it was hard tosupervise Sanders “when he did not know exactly what was going on.” Bythe time Wray became chief, Sanders’ reporting relationship with Bradywas already in place. Brady told Longmire that as early as March 2003,four months before Wray’s appointment, Sanders and a vice-narcoticsdetective named Brian Bissett were debriefing him about sensitivematters involving black police officers. At all times,following the new chief’s inaugural meeting with command staff,Fulmore’s lawsuit argues, “Sanders acted under authority given to himby Wray in his capacity as chief of police.” Like Wray,Sanders and Brady could not be reached through their lawyer forcomment. Testimony in the Sanders trial revealed that he conducted 10separate investigations of black officers. Among them were Lt. BrianJames, who was the executive officer to Chief Wray at the time, and Lt.James Hinson, widely considered a rising star on the force. Whileit was no secret that Fulmore and Sanders didn’t get along, no oneargues that Sanders was a rogue cop. “He didn’t decide who heinvestigated,” argued Sanders’ lawyer, Seth Cohen, during the trial.“He’s assigned that.” A key argument in Fulmore’s complaint is thatWray directed the criminal investigations division to investigateallegations of criminal conduct and directed internal affairs toinvestigate allegations of administrative violations against non-blackofficers, while allegations against black cops were handed off toSanders, who pursued them under murky guidelines and reported directlyto the chief. Proving that would establish a pattern andpractice of discrimination. Fulmore’s lawsuit does not present examplesof how allegations of misconduct by white officers were handled, butstandard operating procedures and departmental directives obtained byRisk Management Associates in late 2005 indicate that Sanders’ methodsdiverged from the norm. GPD Directive 7.1.6, entitled “AllegationsInvolving Violations of Criminal Law,” states that “some investigations(of police employees), due to their nature, will be conducted as acriminal investigation prior to or concurrently with the administrativeinvestigation. The criminal investigations division will be responsiblefor conducting any investigation of allegations against departmentalmembers that involves a violation of criminal law.” GPD Directive7.1.5, entitled “Responsibilities of the Division of ProfessionalStandards,” states that “the internal affairs section of the GreensboroPolice Department serves as the department’s control agent in alladministrative investigations: in recording investigations whenreceived; reviewing completed investigations for thoroughness,objectivity and accuracy, as well as establishing and maintaining acomplete case file on each investigation. In addition, the section isresponsible for conducting administrative investigations at thedirection of the chief of police.”’
Incontrast, a standard operating procedure for “Special IntelligenceSection Information Gathering” that was approved in 1996 includes nomention of the squad of investigating other police officers. Thefirst of the lineups in Fulmore’s lawsuit alleged to be among thedepartment’s “discriminatory methods” is given the memorable name ofthe “Five Black Officer Lineup.” The complaint alleges that itcontained the photos of
Fulmore, Hinson, Norman Rankin, Steve Snipes and Allen Wallace, and was created at Sanders’ behest by GPD employee Dana Bailey. Reachedby phone at the police department, Bailey declined to discuss thelineup without authorization from the chief’s office, which did notrespond to the request. The lineup is mentioned in aconfidential report by RMA that was leaked to the press in two stagesand later made public. The RMA report dates the lineup to 2002, whichwould have fallen under the White administration, while the Fulmorelawsuit dates it more generally “in or around 2003.” Given that Hinson,Rankin and Snipes were implicated in a 1997 bachelor party held inHinson’s honor that involved strippers, the RMA report reasoned, “itwas appropriate to show lineups to bachelor party attendees in anattempt to identify the officers involved. However, any other displayof such lineups without an underlying allegation thereafter would beinappropriate.”
OfficerScott Sanders (right) was assigned to the special intelligence divisionafter Randy Gerringer (center) retired. Fulmore testified that he andSanders “never really established a working relationship.” (photo byBrian Clarey)
Tothe contrary, the lawsuit alleges that “the Five Black Officer Lineupwas shown to criminals by the GPD in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to elicitfalse allegations from such persons of improper conduct by OfficerFulmore.” The lawsuit offers no evidence to back up the claim. Another“discriminatory method” noted in the lawsuit is a digital photo arrayof all black officers employed by the Greensboro Police Department thatSanders allegedly placed on his laptop computer. Thecircumstances or indeed whether the array existed at all remains amatter of controversy. In July 2005, when concerns about lineupssurfaced within the department, Sanders referenced a digital photoarray in a memo to Brady. The memo states that Bridgett Ekwensi, whowas a participant in Hinson’s 1997 bachelor party, had mentioned a lonewhite officer among the black cops. “In October 2003, she was allowedto view more photographs,” Sanders wrote. “These were displayed on alaptop computer screen from files that were on a recorded CD. Thesewere the best collection at that time of all Greensboro PoliceDepartment employees, which resulted in approximately 750 photos inalphabetical order.” The white officer turned out to beSanders’ direct-line supervisor, Craig McMinn. Needless to say,Sanders’ account differs from that of Fulmore.
TheRMA report dates Fulmore’s assignment to a federal task forceinvestigating Terry Bracken for drug trafficking to 2003. That fall, aGuilford County Jail inmate named Pamela Williams claimed, as the RMAreport described it, “to have seen Fulmore and Bracken together andclaimed to have a video tape of them together at a party where drugswere openly displayed.” The allegations led to aninvestigation by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, the State Bureauof Investigation and the Greensboro Police Department. Sanders wasassigned to the case on behalf of the GPD. Fulmore’s complaint makesnote of the fact that the Greensboro Police Department elected tocontinue the investigation after the SBI determined that Williams’allegations were baseless, and the department used such tactics asplacing a GPS tracker on Fulmore’s police vehicle and having Sanderssurreptitiously review
SpecialAgent James Bowman, who worked the case for the SBI, testified inSanders’ trial in February that agents went down to South Carolina andenlisted Pamela Williams’ daughter to call Fulmore and tell him that aSecret Service agent had been coming around and asking about securitytapes that purportedly showed Fulmore and Bracken “meeting for drugbusiness.” Fulmore told Williams’ daughter that he didn’t knowthe Secret Service agent, and that the agent could contact him, Bowmantestified. The SBI agent added that investigators took anothermeasure: They had Williams’ daughter call Fulmore and tell him hergrandfather was threatening to destroy the tapes. “Fulmoreinstructed her not to do that,” Bowman said. “In my mind that wascompletely exculpatory to Fulmore.” Bowman and Sanders comparedFulmore’s phone numbers with Bracken’s phone numbers, and Bowmantestified that they found “no significant information.” Anotherallegation leveled against Fulmore by Williams — that he came to jailto threaten her — proved to be contradicted by jail records. “Ideveloped a concern… that Detective Sanders had what I would call‘tunnel vision’ as to this particular person we were investigating,”Bowman said in court. “He felt that Fulmore was guilty of something,and despite contrary evidence he continued to see it only one way.” Nocriminal charges or administrative citations resulted from theinvestigation, but just when the Williams case seemed to be windingdown, in early June 2004, a vice-narcotics detective initiated aninquiry based on a discovery that a room at the Red Carpet Inn had beenregistered in Fulmore’s name. Detective LT Marshall reported that hotelstaff informed him of suspected prostitution activity occurring in theadjacent room. An unsigned narrative matching Marshall’s perspectivestates that the vice-narcotics detective called Fulmore’s city-issuedcell phone, and then contacted Sanders “of the special investigationsdivision [SIC], who also works with Detective Fulmore. DetectiveSanders stated that Detective Fulmore was in training. I then advisedDetective Sanders of the circumstances and why I wanted to contactDetective Fulmore. Detective Sanders advised me that he would meet withme and for me to stay where I was. Detective Sanders respondedand I showed him where the hotel room was located. Fulmore’s complaintalleges that Sanders, Marshall and Brian Bissett, a secondvice-narcotics detective who was on the scene, “had absolutely noevidence that Officer Fulmore engaged in any sort of criminal conduct.” Rosa S. Torres, an employee of the Red Carpet Inn, would laterrecall during an interview with internal affairs investigators thatthree white males identifying themselves as vice-narcotics officersrequested access to the room registered in Fulmore’s name. “Ms. Torresadvised when they came out she went in to clean, at which time shediscovered a cigarette box and a pipe with cocaine under the covers ofthe bed,” the report records. A used condom was also recovered from theroom. The occupant of the adjacent room was Brenda Weidman, a whiteprostitute who happened to be one of Fulmore’s informants. Weidmantold investigators that she went into Fulmore’s room in the night inquestion, and the black detective pulled out a bag of powder cocaineand asked the prostitute to cook it. An administrative reportcontinues: “She alleged she cooked the cocaine and smoked a smallamount to confirm it was good. Ms. Weidman alleged Detective Fulmoregave her $100 worth of the cooked crack-cocaine before placing the restin a plastic bag and keeping it. She alleged she and Detective Fulmorethen had consensual oral and vaginal sex.” Fulmore denied Weidman’sallegations. He was suspended with pay while the case was investigated. Three days after the hotel room was rented, Fulmore’s complaintalleges that Chief Wray informed Capt. Gary Hastings, who headed thecriminal investigations division, about the discovery. “Wray toldHastings that Brady had been working the investigation of OfficerFulmore, and through Brady’s hard work ‘they’ had ‘taken down’ OfficerFulmore,” the complaint reads. “Also in the June 5, 2004conversation, Wray told Hastings that Officer Fulmore had committedcrimes involving prostitution, narcotics and association withcriminals.”
Anevidence control form listed a glass tube containing an off-whiteresidue and used condoms. An investigation determined that the condomswere Fulmore’s, but the drug paraphernalia belonged to an associated.
Reachedat the police department, Hastings, now an assistant chief, would notcomment on the veracity of the complaint, and Fulmore’s lawyer declinedto disclose the source of the allegation. The complaintcharges that “Wray’s statements to Hastings were indicative of thedisparate treatment that Officer Fulmore was subjected to as a resultof his race, in that non-black officers were presumed innocent prior tothe conduct of investigations of alleged wrongdoing, while blackofficers were not.” In fact, Fulmore had rented the room for anemployee at the automotive shop he operated on Randleman Road. Theemployee, Greg Lewis, had recently been put out of his mother’s house,where he had been staying to that point. Before Lewis arrived at thehotel to go to sleep, Fulmore and a female friend had used the room tohave sex. To protect the young woman’s privacy and because policereports indicate that her boyfriend at the time was angry about herinvolvement with Fulmore, YES! Weekly is withholding her name. However,there should be no doubt that she is not the same woman as BrendaWeidman, and no one has ever suggested that she was a prostitute. Anadministrative report signed by both Fulmore and Wray records thatFulmore told investigators that he and his female friend watchedtelevision in the hotel room. The off-duty detective drank a NaturalLight beer and smoked a Newport cigarette, and the female friend dranka diet soda. Then, Fulmore told investigators, the two had sex threetimes using condoms that he provided. The administrativereport records that Lewis told investigators that “he had a glass tubeused to cook crack in a cigarette pack inside his pocket, whichpossibly fell out of his pocket and was left in the room.” “If you wantto put it on me, I’ll take it,” Lewis told Sanders, Bissett andMarshall. “Not Jay.” Fulmore told investigators that Lewis showed up athis shop a couple weeks after the hotel incident to apologize. “Headvised he told Mr. Lewis he did not want to talk about the situation,because he was very upset and wanted to let things pan out,” the reportreads. Notwithstanding his discontent, Fulmore said he never let hisanger show to Lewis. DNA swabs were taken of Fulmore, Weidmanand the used condom recovered from the room rented by Fulmore, and sentto the SBI lab for analysis. The results excluded Weidman as a matchfor the DNA taken from the condom, but did not rule out Fulmore. Atthe end of the criminal investigation, the final administrative reportindicates, Sanders and Bissett presented their findings to the GuilfordCounty District Attorney’s office, which determined they lackedsufficient evidence to support the elements of criminal charges. Theadministrative investigation sustained a single allegation that Fulmoreviolated a departmental directive by failing to fill out a contact cardto document his contact with Weidman on a number of occasions beforethe hotel incident took place. The city legal report notedthat Fulmore’s punishment was transfer to patrol, “according to thechief, to ‘watch what he was doing.’” Capt. Matt Lojko,commanding officer of the division of professional standards, reviewedthe case at Wray’s request in September 2005, and could find nothingwrong with it. “There were no indications of disparate treatment of theaffected employee,” he wrote. A 2005 internal city legalreport, drafted a month or two later, determined otherwise. “Det. ScottSanders of SID has had substantial contact with several femaleinformants, but according to him he has not completed any documentationof this contact. Moreover, according to Sanders, his superiors wereaware of these contacts and did not require him to complete suchdocumentation. Both Fulmore and Sanders were assigned to the SID unitat the time of their failure to document contact with confidentialinformants.” In February 2005, while internal affairs waswrapping up its administrative investigation of Fulmore, Sanderscreated a lineup book containing photographs of 19 black officers thatcame to be known among African-American officers as the “black book.”The book’s purported purpose is innocuous enough, but the incident ofalleged misconduct that prompted its creation remains shrouded inmystery. “It has been rumored that investigators with thespecial intelligence division created a book containing pictures of allthe African-American officers,” the city legal report observes. “It wasfurther rumored that special intelligence was showing these pictures tosuspects and informants. It has not been confirmed that a ‘black book’exists.” Subsequent revelations raise the question of whetherthe so-called “black book” was a decoy designed to throw off efforts totrack Sanders’ multiple investigations. As Fulmore’s complaintnotes, the city has alleged that the “Black Officer Lineup Book” wascreated pursuant to a prostitute’s allegation that a black GPD officergroped her in a motel room. The lawsuit states, “Despite the city’sallegations, no GPD investigative report or other GPD documentationfrom the time of the supposed sexual harassment allegations exists tosubstantiate that a prostitute ever made such allegations.” Policeattorney Maurice Cawn told YES! Weekly in 2008 that the department hadno incident report documenting the alleged assault. PatBoswell, the city’s public affairs director added, “At this time, itseems that the GPD does not have a date for this alleged event.” Andyet a memo from Sanders to Brady that was written months after the factstates, “I searched records and compiled a list of all black malepolice officers who were on duty in uniform at the time frame that thevictim/witness said that this incident occurred.” ChiefBellamy has also expressed doubt about the incident, telling councilmembers during a January 2005 closed-session meeting that the policedepartment had never had 19 black officers on duty at one time. InMarch 2005, Fulmore alleges, Sanders launched a new investigation ofFulmore,
whichlasted through the end of the year, that “was not based on new credibleevidence or new credible allegations implicating any crime oradministrative violations.” Fulmore alleges that Sanders and othersoperated out of a covert location on South Elm Street. The co-owner ofthe 14-story Guilford Building has previously confirmed to YES! Weeklythat police use of the building dates back to the mid-1990s.
Fulmore’slawsuit argues the police department’s reorganization of specialintelligence to report to the criminal investigations divisioncommander and the city’s acceptance of Chief Wray’s resignation“constitutes an admission that the city engaged in racially disparatetreatment of Officer Fulmore.” While the RMA Report focusesmore on questions about Wray’s integrity and honesty in his dealingswith his boss, then-City Manager Mitchell Johnson, investigatorsreported finding “evidence that tends to support allegations made byemployees of disparate treatment.” (Wray has argued that the RMA reportcontains “numerous factual errors and unjustified conclusions.”) Fulmore’slawsuit argues that “the city’s failure to deny the findings of the RMAreport constitutes an adoptive admission” of its conclusions. Facingheavy public pressure to redeem the honor of Wray and his allies on theforce, city officials have been hard pressed to acknowledge any wrongdone to the black officers — a concession that would obviouslyundermine the city’s negotiating position. Earlier this year, the USJustice Department launched two investigations of the Greensboro PoliceDepartment, one to evaluate claims by the 39 black officers who areplaintiffs in the other discrimination suit against the city, andanother prompted by a discovery that blacks are underrepresented in thedepartment’s entry-level positions. Having fired Mitchell Johnson, whotook steps to address the black officers’ grievances, the city appearsto have backed itself into a corner. According to a RhinocerosTimes report, District 4 representative Mike Barber was one of fourcouncil members who changed their vote last November and withdrew a$750,000 settlement offer to the 39 black officers after theconservative weekly published their names and stirred a firestorm ofpublic objection. Barber, who has announced that he will not run for reelection, now says he supports a settlement even though he does not believe any of Fulmore’s claims are valid. “Myrole is to make decisions based on the longterm health and success ofour city,” said Barber, who is a lawyer. “I’m quite certain 95 percentof the people I talk to would be absolutely opposed to a settlement. Isupport a settlement because I deal with lawsuits and I know the damagethey can do. “I will not make my decision based on public sentiment andthe changing political winds,” the councilman continued. “I will takemy beating like a man.”