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TV Cameras Go Off, Hinson’s Programs

Go Away

 

By JOHN HAMMER

July 10, 2014

When I heard about Deputy Police Chief James Hinson’s latest organization, The Movement, I thought – here we go again.

 

Hinson has a long history of starting organizations to deal with real or perceived problems in the community.  The Movement is just the most recent, this one formed to help deal with the problems caused by a vast number of young people hanging out in the downtown area on summer nights.

 

These organizations get Hinson in the news in a favorable light, newspaper articles are written about him and the television cameras show up to interview Hinson about his latest efforts.  The problem has always been that when the reporters and the cameras go away, so do the organizations.

 

Hinson has been doing this since he was a patrolman in the Police Department, and the number of organizations he has started is astounding, especially when you discover that they mostly went away as quickly as they were formed.

 

The organizations go way back and were written about at length in Cops in Black and White, the 92-part series by New York Times best selling author Jerry Bledsoe for The Rhinoceros Times.

 

In 1994, Hinson started the Asheboro Square Young Achievers Club and the Hinson 2-on-2 Basketball Tournament.  The tournament was to be an annual event at the Hayes-Taylor YMCA.  It got Hinson in the news and he was named District 1 Officer of the Year.  That tournament is long gone, as is the club.

 

In 1995, Hinson organized the Asheboro Square Blast – an event where kids got free pizza and soft drinks.  It was also to be an annual event, and it also fell by the wayside as Hinson moved on to other endeavors.

 

In 1998, in response to the murder of 10-year-old Tiffany Long in Burlington, Hinson organized another basketball tournament.  This was 1-on-1 held at the Hayes-Taylor YMCA.

 

In 1999, Hinson responded to the Columbine High School tragedy with a bodybuilding event.  This was his second annual bodybuilding event and he named it “Show of Muscles Against Violence.”  It was purportedly to raise money to teach children to work out their problems in a nonviolent way.

 

That same year he started a program for the elderly in Glenwood, where the members of his squad were to adopt elderly residents, visit them and assist them with whatever they needed.  As usual, for Hinson it started out with a bang.  He had 47 elderly people sign up and had them taken to Outback restaurant in police vans for a free steak dinner.  Later the Police Department would get calls from the elderly who signed up asking what had happened to the police officers who used to come visit them.  But taking care of the elderly along with their normal duties as police officers had proved to be too much, and like the Young Achievers Club for youth, the program for the elderly faded away after the television cameras left.

 

Also in 1999, Hinson started the Council Developing Young People, which, according to Hinson, was going to be a nonprofit that would help keep young people out of trouble.

 

The big fundraiser for this organization was a golf tournament that was going to be an annual event.

 

In 2003, when the city was hit with a rash of homicides, Hinson planned a “Stop the Violence” rally called “The Gathering.”

 

The event sponsored by the Police Department as well as the Pulpit Forum, an association of mostly black ministers, was held with a lot of media coverage.  Hundreds of people turned out for the event, which was supposed to quell the violence.  But although it did achieve the goal of getting a lot of publicity, it didn’t stop the violence and Greensboro ended up setting a record for homicides in 2003.

 

The second event, “The Gathering II,” was held at the Greensboro Coliseum and thousands were supposed to attend.  According to the article about the event in the News & Record, the result of that event was “Empty chairs.”  The event for thousands only attracted a few hundred and that was the end of “The Gathering.”

 

Also in 2003, complaints about a fundraiser for the Council Developing Young People and Community Togetherness had resulted in an investigation by the Police Department.  As a result of the investigation the department learned that no such nonprofits were registered with the state and no Greensboro privilege license to do business had been issued.  In fact, no nonprofits listing Hinson could be found by the investigators.

 

The golf tournament fundraiser for the event had continued and had been moved to Grandover.  The tournament – which Grandover thought was sponsored by the Greensboro Police Department – had received a special rate, and food had been provided free by a local restaurant.

 

The investigators found a contract between Grandover and the Greensboro Police Department that had been signed by Hinson.  And checks on the account for the Council Developing Young People had been signed by Hinson.

 

Hinson was not authorized to sign contracts on behalf of the Police Department and, as noted, no nonprofit organization run by Hinson was registered with the state.

 

The investigation of this purported nonprofit and the funds that had been raised was stopped by then City Manager Mitch Johnson and then City Attorney Linda Miles after Hinson claimed he was being investigated because of racism.

 

In 2005, Hinson moved on from young people and the elderly to start an organization to help prostitutes.  The program was called Operation HELP, and was done in conjunction with the Greensboro Housing Coalition.  The idea was to provide free housing and assistance for women involved in prostitution in an attempt to get them off the streets.

 

Problems with this organization occurred when Hinson insisted that Tabatha Liggins – who had a long criminal record but no arrests for prostitution – be included in the program.  Although Liggins had never been arrested for prostitution she did have a history of involvement with Greensboro police officers, including an assault conviction for assaulting a Greensboro police officer, with whom she was involved, with a knife.

 

Like the other Hinson organizations, Project HELP simply went away.

 

And now the media is back supporting Hinson’s latest community project, The Movement.  Once the cameras are gone and the reporters have left, it will be interesting to see if The Movement goes the way of the other Hinson organizations and quietly disappear.

 

 

 

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