Retired Greensboro Deputy Police Chief James E. Hinson Jr., who was born on Jan. 18, 1968, died Wednesday, Feb. 2.
According to the obituary, the cause of death was cancer.
Hinson was one of the most well-known and controversial police officers in the department. He joined the Greensboro Police Department in 1991.
In 2005, when Hinson was lieutenant, then Greensboro Police Chief David Wray had Hinson investigated for working off-duty jobs while on duty. As part of that investigation, a tracking device was placed on Hinson’s police car. After Hinson discovered the tracking device, he claimed the investigation was racially motivated.
A host of investigations of the Police Department resulted from that allegation. In January 2006, Wray was locked out of his office by then City Manager Mitch Johnson and later forced to resign. In the aftermath, the entire command staff of the Police Department resigned or retired with the exception of Tim Bellamy, who was promoted to chief.
The incident led to numerous lawsuits against the Police Department, the command staff, police officers and the city of Greensboro, some of those lawsuits are still pending.
It was as a result of these lawsuits and charges being filed against police officers that, in 2009, the City Council voted to fire Mitch Johnson as city manager.
The Rhinoceros Times ran a 92-part series “Cops in Black and White” by New York Times bestselling author Jerry Bledsoe that provided background on why some officers, including Hinson, were investigated.
While both the police chief, Wray, and the city manager, Johnson, lost their jobs in the turmoil following the investigation of Hinson, after being suspended for six months Hinson was reinstated with a clean record. He was later promoted to captain, then deputy chief. Many assumed he would apply for the job of chief in 2020.
However, it was his off-duty activities that resulted in Hinson suddenly retiring in September 2019. Hinson and a former Greensboro police sergeant, Kevin Chandler, owned and operated a group home where a young man alleged he was sexually molested by one of the employees of the group home.
Hinson’s actions in the investigation of that allegation as group home co-owner and deputy police chief were questioned. A subsequent investigation by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department led to the employee being charged with sexual assault on a minor.
Hinson retired and no charges were ever brought against him as a result of the incident.