In the “better late than never” category, the Greensboro City Council finally got around to a discussion of the vandalism and looting that did millions of dollars of damage to Greensboro businesses the nights of Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31.
The discussion began with the reports in the media about why the police did not take action to protect the downtown area and the business owners who were in their businesses on those nights.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann read this quote from the News & Record about the police response: “Officers won’t respond to areas that could put them or protesters in an unsafe situation, Greensboro Police spokesman Ron Glenn said on Monday.
“For the officers’ safety, Glenn said a lone officer or small group won’t be sent to check on a business while a protest or looting is ongoing.”
Hoffmann said that she was “absolutely appalled” at that quote and if that was the police policy then they needed to talk about it.
Chief Brian James said that he spoke with Glenn about that quote and Glenn said he was misquoted.
James went on to explain the lack of police protection for businesses in the downtown and said, “I will say in reference to that particular incident on those nights we had a number of protestors that were right in front of us and the people that did the vandalism and the looting in downtown were on the other side of those protestors and essentially we would have had to go through those protestors in order to get to the people who were breaking into the businesses and I will tell you if we had gone through them, and of course we talked about the munitions part, but if we had gone through that crowd we would have hurt protestors and I think we would have had police officers hurt as well. I think the message that I have given, while I certainly empathize with the businesses downtown and I know a number of those people, we still have to say that we value life and personal injury over property and that’s all we were saying.”
Hoffmann countered with the fact that it wasn’t only property but also business owners who were downtown.
Hoffmann said, “You know there were business owners who were downtown. I certainly know on Sunday night they felt some need to be there to personally protect their property. Chris Lester and I think his manager were both at Natty Greene’s. I think Gray Davis was in Gray’s Tavern. I think Becky Causey was there at some point in time.
“I find it hard to believe that there was only one way around or through a group of protestors in order to deal with a situation that was only a couple of blocks away.”
Hoffmann unfortunately ended her statement by saying that the discussion “is for another day and time.”
Almost a month after the damage and looting in downtown it makes one wonder when that day and time will come.