by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond’

Mayor: Soldiers, not activists, guarantee freedoms

During the last speakers from the floor segment to be held at the beginning of the Greensboro City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, on May 18, spirit of the sit-In Movement Initiative member Jordan Auleb quoted the famous words of Mario savio, the student leader in the Berkeley free speech movement more than 45 years ago:

“There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part; and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

The pageantry organized by Mayor Bill Knight contained an implicit retort. Acting on the prerogatives of the chair, knight has added an invocation to the agenda and organized a ceremony to honor veterans, both gestures that had the effect of deflecting attention from allegations of police corruption. Before the presentation of the colors by a Marine Corps detachment in parade dress, knight substituted a poem often attributed to Dennis Edward O’Brien for the first invocation. One of its lines reads, “It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.”

During the ceremony, knight asked a group of veterans to come forward to be recognized. That the invited veterans were conspicuously all white prompted District 1 Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small to mention afterwards that there are many black veterans who take pride in their military service. knight apologized and said the omission was unintentional. — JG

WSPD orders additional testing for Silk Plant Forest evidence

The Winston-salem Police Department has requested that clothing worn by Jill Marker during a 1995 assault undergo a second round of DNA testing, according to a press release issued on May 21. labCorp, an independent testing facility based in Research Triangle Park, will perform “touch” DNA testing on the clothing “with the goal of obtaining identifiable forensic information,” according to the press release.

On March 4, evidence gathered from the crime scene of the silk Plant Forest shop was sent to the state Bureau of Investigation Crime lab for testing after an internal police department review of the case revealed that some evidence had never been tested. earlier this month, Winston-salem police Chief Scott Cunningham said the sBI tests revealed no new evidence. The evidence tested by the sBI only revealed DNA links to Marker. However, some hair fibers found on Marker’s clothing didn’t belong to the victim, nor did they belong to Kalvin Michael Smith — the man convicted of brutally assaulting Marker — or any other suspect in the case, Cunningham said. Christine Mumma, executive director of the NC Center on Actual Innocence, said Cunningham’s decision to send the evidence to the SBI Crime lab is problematic for several reasons. First of all, with each new round of testing, the evidence sample is degraded, Mumma said. And there this is the question of public perception. “If you want to maximize public confidence in the ongoing investigation into that case, you don’t do that by sending it to a lab that is under investigation.” she said. — KTB