The Greensboro Police Department was under attack from the speakers at the Greensboro City Council town hall meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the Council Chambers.
One of the attackers, who named several police officers who in his opinion should be fired for working with the FBI, was a speaker who only identified himself as Mitch. His full name is Mitch Elmo Fryer, and not only is he an employee of City Councilmember Michele Kennedy at the Interactive Resource Center (IRC), he is also leader of the local chapter of Redneck Revolt, a far-left organization that reportedly believes in armed revolution to achieve its goals. Members of Redneck Revolt are known for coming to protests or anti-protests heavily armed.
There is a photo of Fryer at what turned out to be a big battle between white supremacists and opposition groups, including the Redneck Revolt, in Charlottesville in September 2017.
In the photo he is carrying what appears to be an assault weapon. In other photos you can see the assault weapons of other members of Redneck Revolt more clearly.
Fryer is a frequent speaker at City Council town hall meetings, usually about panhandling and homeless issues. But Tuesday night he attacked Greensboro police officers by name for participating in handling a KKK informant – something that you would think he would favor. It seemed he was concerned because the FBI kept this KKK leader out of jail so they could use him as an informant. This is a common practice for the FBI. If they can get valuable information from someone by keeping them out of prison, they do so.
He said the Greensboro police were also keeping anti-racist groups under surveillance. He didn’t mention Redneck Revolt, but it reportedly considers itself an anti-white supremacist group and is anti-capitalist as well.
The Civil Emergency Unit in Chapel Hill, which operated on August 30 during the Silent Sam protests, was also criticized.
As a result of questions being asked by City Councilmember Goldie Wells about Fryer’s statements, Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott was called to the podium and spoke about the great job the Greensboro police officers did during the altercation in Chapel Hill, which several previous speakers had also criticized. Scott said that most of what was being said from the podium about Greensboro police officers was inaccurate. For example, he said two one-second bursts of pepper spray were used in Chapel Hill and in both cases the pepper spray was sprayed on the ground, not in anyone’s face.
Scott noted that the night the Greensboro Police Department was in Chapel Hill, “nobody got hurt,” which was a far better outcome than on some of the nights the Greensboro police weren’t there.
He said he had watched hours of videotape from the police officers body-worn cameras from that event and Scott said, “Our officers did a fine job in Chapel Hill.”
He said, “We were there to protect everybody.” He also said he had received praise from other police chiefs for the job the Greensboro officers did.
Scott said that the Civil Emergency Unit was an outgrowth of the training Greensboro police officers received when participating in the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, which had police officers from all over the country come to help maintain order.
He also said that Greensboro had about 20 police officers working on a federal task force with a variety of federal law enforcement agencies, but he couldn’t talk about what they were doing because federal law prohibits it.
It’s interesting that there is all this talk about transparency, but when Fryer speaks, Kennedy doesn’t identify him as an employee of the IRC. The city is the primary source of funding for the IRC, which makes the fact that someone works for the IRC even more relevant.
City Councilmember Justin Outling, as he often does, noted that the format of the meeting did not call for a question and answer session with the police chief. In all, seven speakers had used at least a portion of their time to attack the Police Department, so Outling said he understood why the police chief was speaking, but said it’s not how the meeting is supposed to be run.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that the speakers were talking about the militarization of the Police Department when the issue with the Police Department in Chapel Hill amounted to “some tear gas and bicycles.” Vaughan noted that the outcome of the protests in Chapel Hill was much better with the Greensboro Police Department there than when they weren’t. She said that if Greensboro expected to get help from other cities when we needed it, then Greensboro had to assist cities when requested.
City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said she was very familiar with the so-called military equipment the Greensboro police had, and it consisted of a mobile command unit, which is large motorhome upfitted for the police, and an armored vehicle primarily used in hostage situations.
She said, “I find this whole conversation absurd.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter asked the speakers to show some respect for the Police Department and challenged them to enroll in the Citizens Police Academy. She said, “They protect you at your rallies.”
Along with attacking the police for recent action, several speakers said that Jorge Cornell, the former leader of the North Carolina Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, was mistreated by the Greensboro police. Cornell was convicted in federal court and is currently serving a 28-year sentence in federal prison for his gang activity.
Mainly it was just another town hall meeting night where most people come to complain – mostly that the government needs to be more liberal.
Others use the town hall format to get free publicity for their events or as in the case of Mac Sims, the director of East Greensboro Now, to note that his organization had just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Before the public speaking portion of the meeting, the City Council passes resolutions, usually honoring a person or an organization.
The City Council passed a resolution recognizing Oct. 8 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, recognizing the contribution American Indians have made to this country and this state, and noting that North Carolina has eight historic tribes legally recognized by the State of North Carolina – Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan.
Miss Indian North Carolina, Raven Dial-Stanley, thanked the City Council.
The City Council makes an effort at these meetings not to get anything of note done and this week, other than appointing some folks to boards and commissions, getting a report from the police chief about what really happened in Chapel Hill and accepting the resignation of City Attorney Tom Carruthers, it did a good job of that.