With the editorial column in the News & Record on Sunday, March 10, Mayor Nancy Vaughan proves she is consistent.

Since Dec. 28 or Dec. 29, 2023, when she found out about the Greensboro police responding to a report of domestic violence at former City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba’s house on Dec. 28, Vaughan has been in the cover-up, hide, repress, squelch and gag mode.

For a couple of weeks it was relatively easy. The city hid the police report and kept quiet about the incident. But on Jan. 12, the rumor of police responding to a report of domestic violence at the city manager’s house leaked to the Rhino Times.

While the official report was that Jaiyeoba contacted all the members of the City Council to give his version of the incident shortly after it happened, that wasn’t true. City Councilmember Zack Matheny learned of the incident when I called him and asked for a comment.  He said he had no idea what I was talking about and couldn’t believe that would have happened without the members of the City Council being informed.

So, not only was the public kept in the dark, the information was given to councilmembers on a need-to-know basis, and the decision was made that Matheny didn’t need to know.

After the Rhino Times found out about the incident, the cover-up shifted into high gear. Public records requests for 911 calls are usually fulfilled in one day. The request for the 911 from 10 Postbridge Court – Jaiyeoba’s home address – took over a week, and was only fulfilled after I asked for help from Vaughan and Greensboro City Attorney Chuck Watts.

On Jan. 24, the Rhino Times accurately quoted the CAD report that a caller said, “city manager is killing his children.” Vaughan had the CAD report reviewed and rewritten to say, “Taiwo Jaiyeoba, the city manager of Greensboro, is hitting his children.” Or that is what has been reported. However, the revised CAD report has never been released to the Rhino Times. The only CAD report released to the Rhino Times has “city manager” and “children” redacted but it still has the word “killing.”

The police report, which had been kept hidden from the public, was finally released after that.

Then the News & Record announced it was requesting the release of the body-worn camera (BWC) footage of the incident and the aftermath.  At that point, and only at that point, did the City Council – evidently by osmosis because the City Council didn’t meet – decided to request that the BWC videos be released only to the City Council and chosen staff.

The City Council viewed the BWC footage and again – by osmosis or ESP or some form of communication other than a meeting – decided that there was nothing to see on the BWC videos and sent out a press release to that effect.

The people of Greensboro were expected not to question the word from the almighty City Council and go on about our business without asking any more impertinent questions because our elected leaders said there was nothing to see.

But, in fact, there was. Because what the city says can be seen is the first officer on the scene being handed a phone, with Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson on the other end of the line. Some see this as an obvious attempt by Jaiyeoba to receive special treatment from the police officers, but the city says that’s not true.

The incident at Jaiyeoba’s home was treated exactly like any other 911 call about domestic violence, with the exception that the first officer arriving was greeted with a phone with Chief Thompson on the line and the word that the highest ranking officer on duty at the time would be on the scene shortly.

Of course, the public was told that this had no effect on the police response. Except there is the issue that despite the fact that, according to the police report, three people – Jaiyeoba and two of his daughters – had “apparent minor injuries,” no arrests were made. According to people extremely familiar with how the GPD handles domestic violence calls, this is highly unusual.

When the News & Record went to court on Feb. 19 to request the release of the BWC videos, the city opposed the release, making many of the same arguments that Vaughan makes in her News & Record piece.

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour, who is from Wake County and doesn’t have a dog in this fight, ruled that some of the BWC videos should be released. Baddour originally gave the city 21 days to release the BWC videos. But the city attorneys made several requests to have the release delayed and actually requested a second court hearing. Baddour then reduced the time the city had to release the videos to 14 days from the date of the hearing.  You can read into that what you want.

After Baddour had ordered the release by March 4, Jaiyeoba hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent him and requested the court allow him to be heard, which would also delay the release.

Then the city attorneys appealed Baddour’s ruling, further delaying the release of the BWC videos.

In the past, when one of their two employees wasn’t involved, the City Council has often lamented the fact that it was so difficult to get BWC videos released. The City Council has claimed to be on the side of transparency as far as BWC videos are concerned. But when that transparency will likely embarrass them, they are in favor of complete opaqueness.  The City Council knows what happened, so the public has no need to know.

If Vaughan’s insistence that the BWC videos not be released indicates anything, it is that there is much more to see on those videos than the public has been told.