The Greensboro Police Department once again came under attack from the Greensboro City Council at the virtual Monday, Nov. 2 meeting.
The City Council has started allowing a select few people to speak during the public forum portion of the meeting, although the agenda still does not list speaking at the meeting as possible, much less give any directions on how it can be done.
Last December, when the City Council held real meetings, a speaker stated his concerns about a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the US Department of Justice. The City Council ignored the assurances of Police Chief Brian James and Assistant City Manager Trey Davis and turned down the grant of about $250,000.
Monday, Hester Petty, who has been speaking on the death of Marcus Smith for two years, noted that the police directives did not specifically forbid hog tying someone being detained or arrested.
City ,councilmembers who apparently have not read the police directives, got upset.
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy said, “We have flat out been lied to again.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said, “It needs to be specific that there be no binding of hands and feet.”
She added, “I think we need to take some action.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “We keep straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.” She said, “The policy was changed. You can’t do the hog tying with the device that they have.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that the “Ripp Hobble,” the device that was used to “hog tie” people being detained, is no longer allowed. But added that an officer could use flexi cuffs to hog tie someone.
No action was taken, but those who have at least looked through the police directives know that generally the directives direct officers on what to do, not what not to do.
There are exceptions where certain procedures and activities are banned, but most of the directives deal with what to do. If officers follow the directives then they don’t have to worry about the host of things they shouldn’t do.
Petty is correct, the police directives on restraining those arrested or detained don’t specifically state that no one is to be “hog tied.”
But then should all the directives be rewritten to state what officers are not to do?
For instance, there are explicit instructions on where the detainee is to ride in the police car depending on how many officers are present and whether or not the police car is equipped with a shield. However there is no explicit directive that states, “the detainee may not drive the police car.” Nor is there a directive that states, “the detainee may not be placed in the trunk.”
There is no need for those directives because the directives inform the officers what they are to do, not what they should not do.
Evidently the City Council now feels the need to have the directives include all the things police officers should not ,do which is going to make the police directives extremely long and will probably have constant additions as more things police officers should not do come to light.