At Greensboro City Council meetings, it is common to hear people talk about systemic racism, particularly in the Police Department.
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson talks regularly about how the City Council has to change the way it has done things in the past to end “systematic racism.”
A charge of systemic racism seems to ignore the history of the Greensboro Police Department for the past 33 years.
The first black Greensboro police chief was Sylvester Daughtry, who was appointed police chief in 1987.
Daughtry served as chief until 1998. That gave him 11 years to promote, and groom for future promotion, officers who had his same philosophy of policing.
Daughtry was followed by Greensboro second black police chief, Robert White, who had retired from the Washington, D.C., police department as an assistant chief. White served from 1998 to 2003.
Police Chief David Wray took over in 2003 and was accused of being a racist and bringing racist policies to the department. However, it seems worth noting that Wray had been promoted by both Daughtry and White.
In 2006, Wray was forced to resign by City Manager Mitch Johnson, who was later fired by the Greensboro City Council largely for his actions involving Wray and the Police Department.
Greensboro’s third black police chief was Tim Bellamy, who served from 2006 to 2010. Bellamy was mainly kept busy cleaning up the mess that was created by the battle between Wray and Mitch Johnson.
While Bellamy was police chief, in 2007 Yvonne Johnson was elected as Greensboro’s first black mayor. Yvonne Johnson had been an at-large city councilmember since 1995 and before being elected mayor was the city’s first black mayor pro tem. After losing her bid for reelection as mayor in 2009, Johnson won an at-large seat on the City Council in 2011 and became mayor pro tem again.
In 2010, when Bellamy retired, Rashad Young, who was Greensboro’s first black city manager, hired Ken Miller, who is white, as police chief.
Miller reached retirement age in 2014 and, in an attempt to keep him from retiring, Greensboro’s second black city manager, Denise Roth, gave Miller a $27,000 raise. Miller, however, retired in 2014.
In 2015, Police Chief Wayne Scott was appointed by City Manager Jim Westmoreland. Both are white.
Scott retired in January of this year and City Manager David Parrish promoted the current police chief, Brian James, to that position. James is Greensboro’s fourth black police chief since 1987.