Rufus Scales got arrested again. Should we be surprised by that? You remember Rufus and his brother Devin don't you? They are the two brothers that were GIVEN $50,000 by our City Manager, Mayor and City Council because Nelson Johnson told them to or he would call us all racists. Worse yet, the case against the brothers were dismissed at the behest of city officials instead of being tried in the courts even though the charges were determined to be lawful at the time of arrest by a judicial official trained in evaluating probable cause. None of this stopped our biased local media and other opportunistic antagonists from continuing to lam bast Officer Travis Cole for making "false arrests" though every piece of legitimate evidence suggests otherwise. It didn't stop those same forces from using this previous "un-tried" case against him to attempt to take his job and that of an assisting officer because they dared arrest a thief they had prevented from breaking into his mother's house...again! What was his name again? Oh yeah, Dejuan Yourse. The guy our Mayor apologized to because Nelson Johnson and his band of antagonists from the land of embellishment insisted she do so; all those votes you know. Now a group that uses the term "transparency" in their name wants videos and personnel files and who knows what else to keep this case in the public view even though Officer Cole and Officer Jackson have both moved on from GPD. Fine by me; I love transparency. Why don't we discuss that just a little bit further.
First off, let me say for the record that not everyone in the group Greensboro Operation Transparency is unreasonable and insincere though the folks out front that speak for that group certainly seem to have their own agenda. In fact I recently had coffee and a two and a half hour discussion with one of their members about each others concerns. He requested that we meet because he wanted to get my impressions and input from a law enforcement perspective. I in turn openly discussed a few folks that were involved with his group that I had "reservations about their motives". Our conversation was very civil and I would do it again with this young man. We agreed on much more than he ever believed we would. I believe that this young man sincerely wants the same goal as I do; we just believe in different paths to achieve it. This is a person that we can work with. He is an asset.
I was somewhat surprised that the News-Record actually printed a story about the Scales arrest. They reported that he was charged with Felonious Breaking and Entering and Felonious Larceny. Research says that is true and that his bond is $5,000. The facts listed in the article sounded more like a burglary to me but until I actually ask a police officer and get the facts from a reliable source I will refrain from comment. Why is this a big deal you ask, he is already charged with two felonies? Because as recently as 1978, First Degree Burglary was a capital offense in North Carolina. It is a more serious crime that comes with more serious consequences. Of course the News-Record had to include the Cole incident in the write up as if that somehow mitigates this and all of his other crimes including a statement of the video showing Cole "throwing Scales to the ground". I watched that video that was run on Fox8. So did you. Well, they have the reputation they have for a reason.
Of course, Scales is the older story so "maybe" that is why they reported Scales Sunday arrest and conveniently overlooked the Friday arrest of Dejuan Yourse. His arrest information would have been located in the same stack of papers that reporters have routinely checked for years to get these stories. Of course, another arrest this recently after his publicized run in with Officers Cole and Jackson would certainly be a bit more damning of the ridiculously offered Mayoral apology and the efforts of GOT to retrieve more information on Cole. It certainly more than defeats the characterization of a poor, innocent man just hanging around waiting on his momma....with a shovel....prying a garage door...to check for a dog....that is mean....and apparently doesn't bark. Wonder if we paid Yourse yet?
Transparency you say? Okay; where is the Body Worn Camera video of Yourse's mother thanking the police for preventing her son from breaking into her house and stealing from her again? Where are all the neighbor's cell phone recordings of the Cole/Jackson/Yourse incident? Oh wait, the neighbors are the ones that called and reported that Yourse was breaking in! Where is the internal investigation of just who in the police department is leaking confidential information to Sharon Hightower? Nelson Johnson? Lewis Pitts? Pitts admits he is protecting sources "within the department". Are these details being leaked by rank and file officers? Or are they being leaked by the much more likely sources in upper police administration?
It is my understanding that a video exists as evidence in the Friday Yourse arrest that shows a rather severe assault on a female committed by him. Since the GTO seems to not want to wait to see videos even though they are evidence of a crime or investigation of any type, will there be a demand by certain councilmen (Fox, Hightower) to have this video publicly viewed? Certainly demonstrating violent tendencies would influence the perception of the officer's stated observations that day they encountered Yourse? After all, Mr. Yourse has become the face of GTO's demands for transparency. Should we not know everything about their cause before making decisions about their demands?
It seems to me that total transparency is only accomplished when ALL sides are revealed.
One concern for me that pertains to the Greensboro Transparency Organization and its' efforts to obtain Officer Cole's personnel file (and I expressed it to the aforementioned GTO member) is the perception of many and a belief of mine that obtaining that file has absolutely nothing to do with Officer Cole. GTO wants that file because they are desperate to find something, anything to use against Chief Wayne Scott in their continuing efforts to have him removed so Nelson Johnson's choice can be appointed. The attempted coup that I wrote about was real. It was put down. The losing side refuses to accept it. Publicizing Yourse's Friday arrest would not enhance their efforts; and the News-Record knows it.
On September 26th, 2016 I submitted a PIRT request with the city for e-mails from specific personnel regarding the Cole case. 75 city working days later I finally received 413 "edited" e-mails with some very specific omissions on January 17th, 2017. I am still reviewing those.
Previously through the PIRT system, I requested information on any documentation of monies specifically paid to a Brian Watkins who is also a disciple of Nelson Johnson and is involved with GTO. I received confirmation of a $10,000 payment and a copy of his filed lawsuit in which he ADMITS to breaking the law. However, the city advised me that there was no known documentation of who authorized that payment. $10,000 of tax payer money given to an admitted law breaker yet no one authorized it?
Had these criminal cases been tried it is likely that convictions would have been gained. There would have been no monies paid. Taxpayers would be at least $60,000 better off. There would be no grounds for crying about "false arrests". Prosecuting these suspects would have cost the city nothing. Convicting them would have allowed the City Council the ability not to be inundated with complaints, of course dependent on the Mayor to actually make an attempt to control a meeting. If a Judge found grounds for an acquittal or dismissed the case then you can examine the case for false arrest. Improper conduct by an officer does not excuse criminal action by a suspect.
Has Yourse been paid? Or does GTO need him to keep waiting so that he can be used as leverage to gain Cole's file? I am positive it has been discussed. Either way, if the goal is transparency then let us accomplish it together without agenda and more importantly completely!