The Greensboro City Council voted to hold a special work session on conducting an independent investigation into the death of Marcus Deon Smith.

Smith died on Sept. 8, 2018, after being restrained by Greensboro police with a Ripp Hobble device in a restraint position that is commonly called hogtying.

The City of Greensboro is currently being sued by Mary and George Smith, the parents of Marcus Deon Smith.

The city has made offers to settle the lawsuit, but the offers have not been accepted.  Earlier this year, Councilmember Yvonne Johnson asked that settling the Smith lawsuit be made a City Council priority for 2021, but it was not added to the list of priorities.

When hiring an outside firm to do an independent investigation has been discussed in the past, the City Council has been advised that from a legal standpoint it would be a mistake to facilitate an independent investigation while inthe midst of litigation.

At the Tuesday, April 20 meeting, City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy, who describes herself as a “friend” of Marcus Smith, made a motion to conduct an independent investigation.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “I’m not prepared to vote on that tonight.  I don’t believe there was a cover-up and I’m not adverse to having the information out there.”

Vaughan suggested that the City Council hold a work session on the proposed independent investigation.

City Manager David Parrish said the earliest work session available would be late May.

Kennedy, “I don’t want to wait until the end of May to have this conversation.”  And she suggested scheduling a special work session to discuss the independent investigation.

Johnson said, “We have been dealing with this for years.  We need to come to some resolution.”

Kennedy made the motion to schedule a special work session to discuss conducting an independent investigation and the motion passed unanimously.

In the past, both Councilmembers Tammi Thurm and Justin Outling have waited months for work sessions on issues they wanted the council to discuss.